Oral Health in Dogs & Cats

When we talk about our dogs/cats oral health we tend to assume or immediately think of their teeth.  Oral Health also encompasses their gums and tissues.  In fact their gum and tissues, in some instances, may be more important as they can lead to tooth issues if not cared for.

First we will discuss chewing.  When our dogs/cats are chewing they are cleaning their teeth and gum line, but depending on what they are chewing dictates which teeth are being cleaned.  Not all teeth are cleaned just by chewing.  It takes a variety of different types of chewing to insure that all teeth are getting cleaned.

When they are chewing raw meaty bones (rib bones, ox tail, tendons, cartilage chews, raw pig tails, raw pig ears) they are cleaning their back teeth.  They use these teeth to chew these types of items and the constant rubbing helps to remove any plaque or prevent plaque build up.

The front canines are a different type of tooth that require a fibrous meat that require ripping and tearing to clean them.  Depending on the size of your dog dictates what they can be fed to accomplish this.  

Little dogs are easier as giving them a large chuck of any fibrous meat will accomplish this.  Examples would be duck quarter, chunks of tongue, whole turkey gizzard, chunks of beef steak.  They can rip and tear at these and in doing so will clean their teeth.

Large dogs are a little trickier because of their size.  A whole tongue, duck quarter, whole duck quarter are a d]few examples of items that will help keep their front teeth clean with the ripping and tearing required to eat these items.

Cats have totally different needs; while quail, whole gizzards, chunks of any meat.

The gum tissues are massaged and rubbed when chewing and this helps keep them healthy however as dogs age it is completely possible and probable that even if their teeth are in good shape that they will get gingivitis.  Gingivitis is when the gums get red, puffy and inflamed.  Dogs/cats can have good teeth and still have gingivitis.  When gingivitis occurs their is a bacteria that forms under the gum tissue and this bacteria forms a plaque on the teeth, even with chewing.

My Molly will be 13 in March.  I just took her in for her annual wellness visit at the vet.  Shea’s completely stopped chewing over the last 6 months.  She would not chew on ANYTHING. Even if I put little chunks of meat in her meals she would pick them out so I was feeding her ground.  She just recently lost a very front tooth but that is the only tooth she has ever lost.  I noticed her gums were red, puffy and her breath was getting a little bad.  I had the vet look at her teeth to be certain we didn’t have any issues with her teeth.  She was given a clean bill of health in regards to her teeth however she did have gingivitis.  

We started treating her with an all natural soy and gluten free oral/topical treatment and within a week she was starting to chew again.  Her gums look so much better and all the redness and puffiness are gone. Her breath is better and she is happier.  MYnhusband says she is “chewing like a little beaver again”! The treatment is super easy; apply daily for a month then three times a week.  I was so impressed with this product that I called the company and had a very lengthy conversation with them so that I fully understood what the product was and how it worked.

Gingivitis is naturally occurring condition as dogs/cats age.  Not all pets will develop gingivitis but a large number will – especially little dogs and cats.  If left untreated it can be extremely dangerous as it can lead to tooth loss, infection and secondary infections/illnesses in your dogs/cats.

Carbohydrates are detrimental to your dogs teeth.  Carbohydrates break down into sugars and are severely detrimental to your dogs oral health.

This is an easy condition of prevent/treat and yet it is one of the most frequently overlooked and untreated conditions out there. 

We all want to keep our “fur babies” well and their Oral Health is a very integral part of that.  Remember, prevention is better for your “fur kids” and less expensive for you!

As always, I welcome any questions.