We all know how important dental health is for our own teeth. We go to the dentist regularly and brush and floss our teeth twice a day. But did you know that dental health is important for your pet as well? Dental disease is the most common health problem of our pets – 70% of cats and 80% of dogs will have some level of disease by age 2.
What causes dental disease in dogs and cats?
The underlying cause of dental disease is plaque. Plaque is that furry film you feel on your teeth when you first wake up in the morning. It is a mix of saliva, bacteria and tiny food particles that sticks to your teeth and accumulates especially at the gum line. If it is not removed, it can mix with minerals in saliva to cause tartar and the bacteria can cause pain and inflammation of the gums also known as gingivitis. This inflammation can eventually affect the tissues that support the teeth leading to tooth loss. It isn’t always obvious that your pet has dental disease but some signs you may see include bad breath, drooling, swollen gums and loss of interest in chew toys.
So how do I keep my dog or cat’s teeth clean?
Just as it is in ourselves, dental care is a two-step process that involves both professional and at home care. Your vet is your pet’s dentist – regular assessment and teeth cleaning by your veterinarian are important steps in caring for your pet’s teeth. Because gums are very sensitive and dogs and cats won’t sit in a chair with their mouths wide open, dental work in pets needs a general anaesthetic. This means the vet can properly check the entire mouth for any problems and allows them to thoroughly clean your pet’s teeth, including under the gum line. However, again like us, dental care doesn’t stop there. Pets need a daily home dental care regime to keep their teeth clean in between visits to the vet. One option is to brush their teeth every day, however, our pets are not always cooperative and pet owners often find brushing difficult. That’s why feeding specialised dental foods can be a good alternative, as they can help clean your pet’s teeth whilst they eat.
There are so many dental diets and treats available, how do I know which one to choose?
The key to controlling dental disease is to control plaque, and this is something that not all dental diets and treats do. One thing to look for is the VOHC seal on the pack. This shows that the product has clinical studies which have been examined by a group of independent veterinary experts and that the product has been proven to help control either plaque, tartar or both. Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care is one of the only diets to carry the seal for the control of plaque and tartar for both dogs and cats.
How does Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care Work?
Most dry kibble shatters and crumbles in the mouth when the tooth comes into contact with the food. This is why ordinary dry kibble has minimal effect on the dental health of our pets. Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care has an innovative kibble designed to work like a toothbrush as pets eat. This diagram shows how it works. The unique combination of the kibble size, shape and interlocking fibre technology allows the tooth to penetrate deeply into the kibble before it breaks. The kibble gently scrubs the tooth surface to clean teeth as the pet eats.
Can I feed Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care long-term?
Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care is complete and balanced for adult dogs and cats. In addition to the dental benefits, it contains a blend of omega-6 fatty acids and Vitamin E for a healthy skin and coat, and includes our clinically proven antioxidant blend to support a healthy immune system. It is made from natural ingredients with added vitamins, minerals and amino acids, and contains no artificial flavours, no synthetic colours and is not artificially preserved.
In summary, if you have a dog or cat over 2 years of age, then the chances are that they may have some degree of dental disease. Treat their teeth as you would your own. Book in to see your veterinarian for a dental check-up and feed your pet Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care so you know that they are cleaning their teeth every day as they eat.