Just like humans, pets are susceptible to dental issues, including the common problem of gingivitis. Unfortunately pet oral hygiene is easily overlooked to the detriment of a dog/cat’s overall health and wellbeing.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common dental problem in both dogs and cats, characterised by inflammation of the gums. It occurs when plaque and tartar build up on the teeth, leading to the growth of bacteria. If left untreated, gingivitis causes pain, tooth loss, and other health complications.
Recognising the Signs of Gingivitis
Dogs and cats should not have disagreeable mouth odour. Bad breath indicates the presence of infection.
- The leading sign of Gingivitis is bad breath, coupled with your pet’s reluctance to you touching their mouth.
- Discoloured teeth or visible tartar build up that starts at the gum line.
- Red or swollen gums.
- Reluctance to eat or chew on favourite toys.
A thorough cleaning performed by a veterinarian is necessary to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your pet’s teeth and gums. This procedure is done under anesthesia to ensure the comfort and safety of your pet.
If Gingivitis is advanced, many cats or dogs will develop painful lesions at the gum line that invade the teeth. They are properly referred to as tooth resorptions. Unfortunately the causes of tooth resorption are unknown, and the most effective treatment is extraction of the affected tooth.
The good news is that gingivitis is preventable with consistent oral hygiene practices. Here are some effective strategies to safeguard your pet’s oral health:
Regular Brushing: Use a toothbrush and toothpaste specially formulated for pets. Brush their teeth gently in a circular motion, focusing on the gum line. Aim for daily brushing, but at least once a week is recommended.
Dental Chews and Toys: Offer dental chews or toys designed to promote oral health. These products can help remove plaque and tartar, reducing the risk of gingivitis. Look for options approved by veterinary professionals.
Balanced Diet: Feed your pet a balanced diet that supports their dental health. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure their nutritional needs are being met. Some specialised pet foods are formulated to support oral hygiene.
Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Schedule routine dental check-ups with your veterinarian. They will examine your pet’s teeth and gums, perform professional cleanings if required, and offer guidance on home dental care.
Our Vets Recommend
Pet Dent Finger Toothbrushes and pastes for dogs and cats are available at our Vet Shops in Grassy Park and Plumstead. Hills Dental Care Specialty Food can be used as an additive to an existing kibble to enhance your dog’s oral care.