Guide to Dental Health for your Pets
Just as people need to take care of their teeth, pets also have important dental health needs. If issues arise with a pet’s teeth or gums, these infections can cause serious health issues. Plaque will accumulate on a dog or cat’s teeth just as it does on humans’ teeth. Left to fester, this plaque will become tartar, which breaks down the gums. A gum infection could spread to other areas of the body, causing serious illness. A veterinary dentist can assist pet owners with dental care for a beloved animal, which can help ensure a healthy and long lifespan.
Professional Dental Care for Pets
Preventing dental problems for a pet is crucial for overall health. An adult dog or cat needs regular visits with a veterinarian or veterinary dentist to examine the mouth and teeth. The examination should occur every year for cats and small dogs and every two years for large dogs. This oral examination can also involve a dental cleaning when necessary. Usually, a professional will perform a dental cleaning with the pet under general anesthesia.
Daily Dental Care for Pets
Pet owners can also assist with tooth care to keep a pet’s mouth healthy. Feeding a dog or a cat dry, crunchy food is one line of defense, but this is not the only task needed to keep teeth healthy. To prevent periodontal disease in a dog or a cat, an owner should perform daily tooth-brushing on the animal. Special pet toothpastes are available, often in flavors that will appeal to the pet. A soft-bristled tooth brush is ideal. Pet owners can use a toothbrush designed for animals, or they can use a soft-bristled brush designed for children. While it may seem excessive to brush a pet’s teeth every day, veterinarians liken pet tooth care to the care of human teeth. Just as people brush their teeth several times a day, pets also need to have the plaque removed from their teeth daily.
General Health Care for Pets
Because pets are an integral part of the family, it’s important to monitor their general well-being to make sure they stay healthy. Sometimes symptoms might appear that could indicate illness. The amount of food and water a pet takes in throughout the day is an important indicator of well-being. If a pet suddenly stops eating or drinking the typical amount or begins consuming more than usual, this could suggest a health problem. Sudden weight loss or weight gain could also indicate a health issue. Unusual behavior, sluggishness, difficulty moving, and unusual lumps could also be symptoms of an underlying health problem.
Importance of Diet
Pets’ diets are important for ongoing health. Just as people need to eat nutritious foods every day, pets also have nutritional needs. While the ingredients of pet foods will vary, choose foods with high-quality ingredients that will enhance pet health. Pet owners must store pet food correctly, depending on the type of food. Moist food must be covered and kept cold until consumed. Dry food should be stored in the original packaging or a sealed container. Keep dry food in a dry location with temperatures below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Pet food and water dishes should be washed daily to keep them clean.
Getting Professional Care for Pets
Annual visits to the veterinarian will help ensure ongoing pet health. As a veterinarian examines a cat or a dog, the professional will assess health, watch for symptoms that could indicate a disease, and check for parasites that could cause illness. The veterinarian will also perform vital health services that include heartworm prevention and vaccinations. Having a pet spayed or neutered helps maintain pet health, and it often reduces behavioral problems. Keeping a pet well-groomed has a number of benefits as well. Brushing the pet’s fur keeps it healthy and neat. The process of grooming also ensures that you catch any infestations of mites, fleas, and ticks to resolve them before they become serious.
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