The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

Dental Care for Dogs and Cats

Oral care is a very important aspect to a pet’s health.  Many individuals think humans are the only ones that have to brush their teeth and take a trip to the dentist.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Animals need oral care as well since they are unable to brush their own teeth.  Dogs have 42 teeth and a cat has 30 teeth.  It’s best to start this process when the animal is younger.

Many veterinarians recommend their clients to start oral care once they add a new furry friend to their family.  This is after the puppy, or kitten, has a physical exam done by a veterinarian.  The veterinarian will make sure the pets mouth is healthy before starting the brushing process.  The first step is to have the puppy, or kitten, get used to the individual touching its mouth on a daily basis.  The animal may not like it at first but if its done on a daily basis, the animal will get used to it.  This will make the brushing process much easier since the animal is used to getting the mouth touched.

A tooth brush kit, made for dogs and cats, can be found at a local animal hospital.  They can also be found at local pet store as well.  Dog and cat tooth paste do not contain fluoride.  The tooth paste that is found in the kit is safe for the animal to swallow.  A lot of the time a finger brush is used since some animals refuse to let anyone brush its teeth with a tooth brush.  The finger brush can be found in some kits as well.

Once the time has come to brush a dog or a cats teeth,  a small amount of the tooth paste has to be introduced to the pet on a treat of some sort.  Eventually, the tooth past should be introduced to them on the tooth brush.  In addition, during the brushing process, gentle massaging strokes should be considered when brushing the animals teeth.  It’s very important to brush both the teeth and the gums.  During the process, and especially after the process is over, the owner needs to praise the animal.  Make the brushing process a fun experience so the animal does not go into a panic.  It’s best to repeat this process daily.  This will help prevent many dental issues.

Now, if the animal is uncooperative, dentistry would be the best bet.  A veterinarian will be able to tell an individual when to schedule a dentistry.  By the age of three years old, dogs and cats should have a dentistry performed.  Especially if their teeth have not been brushed at home.  If the teeth are not taken care off, severe dental disease can arise as well as many other issues including gingivitis, periodontal disease, abrasions, and much more.  A dentistry can only be performed at a animal hospital.  The dental instruments veterinarians use are very similar to the ones a regular dentist uses for humans.  During the process, the animal is put under anesthesia, since they will not sit there with their mouth opened during the procedure.  Sometimes radiographs will be taken.  Also, if any teeth need to be extracted or anything needs to be fixed. It will be painless for the animal and a less traumatic experience.  When tartar builds up on their teeth, sometimes it’s unable to come off during the normal brushing process.  During a dentistry, most of the tarter will come off.  Once the procedure is done, the teeth stay clean for a long time.  The animal is then monitored in recovery after the procedure and they are usually sent home the same day.  There are also dental treats, and food, available at the veterinary office to keep on the animals oral health.

Keeping a dog and cats teeth cleaned can add on years to their life.  Dental disease can lead to many issues that effect the major organs of the body, including the heart, kidneys, and blood stream.  That’s why a trip to the animal hospital, at least once a year, is a very important part to a pets life.  Some symptoms of dental issues include bad breath, bleeding gums, excessive drooling, change in eating habits, weight loss, pain while eating, and many more.  Always make sure the gums of a dog, or a cat, are pink.  Questions can always be answered by a veterinarian.  Dogs need to smile too!

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About the Contributor
Katherine Wirth
Katherine Wirth, Impact Staff
Katherine is currently a junior at Mercy College, majoring in Media Studies.  Her goal is to become a newsreporter.  This semester, Katherine is doing an internship with the Medical Unit at WABC News. Katherine enjoys working with animals as well.  Previously a vet tech major, Katherine decided to change her major and have the love of writing and animals all in one.  In her newsletter writing class last semester, Katherine wrote a newsletter awaring individuals about Puppy Mills and the history behind it.  Outside of school, Katherine works at a animal hospital as a Vetrinary Assistant for the past eight years. She can be reached at [email protected]

Comments (2)

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    pursesNov 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm

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    dianaSep 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Go Katie! good job. 🙂