As an RVT, I always enjoy talking to people about their pets. However, I sometimes cringe a little when I hear certain things regarding their pet’s well being! Since our Dental Focus is beginning here at Acadia, I thought I’d take the time to outline a few “dental myths”, and shed some light on this often misunderstood subject.
Frequently Asked Questions:
My pet crunches its dry kibble, so there’s no need for any oral hygiene
Though crunching can help alleviate some tartar build-up, it is not enough on its own. Veterinary dental diets contain special enzymes that actually prevent plaque from adhering to the teeth and becoming tartar. This is a great place to start. However, diet is not the only factor. If your pet is agreeable to it, I certainly recommend brushing as well. Food can often stay lodged between your pet’s cheeks and teeth, and brushing can help maintain a healthy mouth. Not sure how to brush your pet’s teeth? Feel free to stop in and chat with our technicians! Other products can be added to your dental health routine. Water additives, dental chews and certain chew toys can all offer benefits.
Bad breath is normal in pets
If your pet’s breath makes you want to retch, it’s time to see your vet! Bad breath is the byproduct of bacteria festering in your pet’s mouth. It may be time to get a dental cleaning done! Regular dental cleaning now can prevent more drastic measures in the future. (And can make Fluffy’s kisses more enjoyable!)
My pet is eating well, so their teeth must be fine
Pets are resilient creatures. They will often continue to eat regardless of discomfort. They may chew on one side only, or start swallowing their food whole in order to avoid chewing.
Dental disease is not painful
Have you ever had a toothache? Not pleasant, to say the least! It’s no different for our furry friends! What is different is their ability to hide discomfort. It’s a survival instinct. Animals have learned to camouflage their pain. An astute owner may notice some subtle signs of pain. A pet that is trembling, shaking, quieter than usual or reluctant to eat, may be showing signs of discomfort.
Dental hygiene isn’t that important for my pet
Did you know that the bacteria in your pet’s mouth is also very fond of their heart and kidneys? Bacteria in the mouth enter the bloodstream and can cause damage to a variety of organs. Dental disease left unchecked can lead to many serious problems, the least of which is bad breath!
To sum it up, your pet’s oral health is an important factor in its overall well being, and should not be ignored.
Written By: Danika Cormier, RVT