Start Adding Years to Your Pet’s Life During Pet Dental Health Month!
Periodontal (gum) disease is the most commonly diagnosed health problem in dogs and cats. In fact, veterinarians estimate that 70-80% of dogs and cats have some degree of gum disease by age 3. As in humans, chronic oral infections are linked to serious and even life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and organ failure.
Apart from damaging your pet’s health and longevity, chronic oral disease damages your wallet: dental cleanings can cost hundreds of dollars, and dental extractions can run into the thousands. Why spend all that money for treatment when there are less expensive ways to prevent oral disease?
If you’ve been relying on dry food to keep your pet’s teeth clean… DON’T. Dry pet food — which is essentially a meat cookie — contains a high percentage of carbohydrate to hold the kibble shapes together, and this leaves a starchy film on the teeth that bacteria thrive on. Additionally, kibble typically shatters into small pieces when initially chewed, and these tiny pieces do not provide the mechanical abrasion necessary to remove plaque and tartar from teeth. (Think about it: If your teeth were feeling dirty, would you eat a cookie to clean them? Of course not!) For true abrasive action, give your pet “nature’s toothbrush”: a raw meaty bone!
Whereas cooked bones can easily splinter and should never be given to your pets, raw bones are flexible and are generally safe with proper supervision. Gnawing on raw bones helps scrape off accumulated plaque and tartar, and any attached meaty bits provide some natural flossing action. Raw meaty bones are available from many animal sources and in a variety of sizes suitable for dogs or cats, and should be matched to the mouth size and chewing style of your pet. If you are uncomfortable giving your pet raw bones, consider slow-smoked or sterilized bones, naturally-shed antlers, buffalo horns, or natural chews such as bully sticks, pig ears, or hemp ropes instead.
Other ways to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy:
- Regular Brushing: Brush as frequently as your dog or cat will allow (daily if possible) with a toothbrush, finger toothbrush, or gauze-wrapped finger. The three-headed brush from PetzLife cleans all surface areas of the tooth with just one stroke, reducing the amount of time it takes to brush the teeth of a less-than-cooperative pet. Use an enzymatic or natural toothpaste formulated just for pets — human toothpaste is not designed to be swallowed and may make your pet very sick.
- PlaqueOff: Adding a tiny amount of this seaweed-derived product daily to your pet’s food helps prevent formation of the bacterial biofilm on teeth, thereby reducing bad breath, plaque, and tartar. Within several weeks you’ll be seeing cleaner teeth and recommending PlaqueOff to all your friends!
- Animal Essentials SeaDent for Dogs: The power of kelp is augmented with five naturally occurring enzymes — lysozyme, amylase, cellulase, protease, and papain — that have been proven to fight plaque and bacteria in the mouth. Add to food daily to reduce oral bacteria and to help break down food particles trapped between the teeth and under the gum line.
- PetzLife Oral Care Spray and Gel: PetzLife’s oral care products contain natural extracts and oils that break down plaque and tartar, work under the gum line to help heal gum tissue, and kill the bacteria that cause bad breath. Just spray or apply gel twice daily for best results. No brushing is required, but the gel makes an excellent toothpaste to speed up benefits.
- Ark Naturals Breath-Less Chewable Brushless Toothpaste: These ridged chews contain a patented bacteriostatic “toothpaste” in their center that disrupts plaque and tartar formation, slows the growth of oral bacteria, and fights bad breath.
- Ark Naturals Breath-Less Plaque-Zapper: This fizzy water additive is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, and suitable for cats and dogs. Plaque-Zapper helps neutralize the pH level of saliva, deters the growth of bacteria, and controls plaque, tartar, and bad breath.
- Edible Dental Chews and Dental Bones: When made with quality, all-natural ingredients, dental chews can help clean teeth, freshen breath, and satisfy your pet’s physical and psychological need to chew. Some of our favorites: Indigenous Dental Health Bones (fortified with kelp, probiotics, and Omega 3); Pegetables Dental Chews (grain-free, gluten-free, and full of natural vegetables); and Whimzees (gluten-free natural chews in fun shapes like alligators, hedgehogs, and toothbrushes).