For us, bad breath is pretty easy to keep on top of – clean your teeth twice a day and watch out for any raw garlic! It’s a bit harder for our pets though. From time to time catching a whiff of your pooch’s breath can make your eyes water! Bad breath in both dogs and cats can be a symptom of underlying periodontal or gum disease.
The Australian Veterinary Association has reported that 4 out of every 5 dogs and cats have some degree of dental disease. Making it a significant issue in the animal population that can severely impact your pet’s quality of life.
Fortunately, there are different stages of gum disease. If diagnosed early, and treated with a comprehensive dental management plan, you can prevent it from progressing further. One of the earliest signs of gum disease is bad breath.
We’ve put together our top 5 strategies for preventing bad breath in your pets to maintain good oral hygiene:
1: Clean those pearly whites!
Did you know that you can clean your pet’s teeth just like your own? This is the most effective way to maintain your dog or cat’s oral hygiene, and with a bit of training can become a regular part of your pet’s routine. Especially if your pet is young, we recommend this approach. If you get them used to having their teeth brushed as a baby, it will quickly become normal for them. Which means less wriggling when they are bigger!
You can buy a special pet toothbrush which fits onto the tip of your finger. It looks like a thimble. It’s important that you use a dog or cat-friendly toothpaste (which come in flavours they’ll love like liver and chicken!) as human toothpaste can be detrimental to their health. The best practice is to brush your pet’s teeth daily, but even 3 or 4 times a week will leave their breath smelling fresh and their teeth much cleaner! No more bad breath!
If you are not up to clean your pet teeth yourselves don’t worry! Just book an appointment with one of our experienced staff!
2: Fun and games
Similar to dental treats, chew toys can also help in keeping your dog’s teeth clean by preventing build-up of tartar and plaque. It’s also a great way to relieve your dog’s boredom, and bond with them through play. Lots of fun and clean breath? Sounds like a win-win! Shop our chew toys.
3: Them bones, Them bones
Chewing on a bone helps strip away plaque on your pets’ teeth, as well as massaging their gums. Both improve their oral health and thus reduce their bad breath. Some things to remember when giving your pet bones are:
- Never give your pet cooked bones – these may splinter and cause intestinal injury when they are digested
- To reduce choking risk, give your pet bones that are of an appropriate size for them. Large dogs should have very large bones, whereas small dogs may be fine with chicken necks. A good rule of thumb is to choose a bone that is bigger than your dog’s head so it can’t be swallowed. Chicken wingtips are good for your cat to chew on.
- Don’t leave your pet alone with a bone – always supervise them while they are chewing.
4: Oral hygiene that works like a ‘treat’
If you’re unsure about giving your pet a fresh bone, there are plenty of products on the market that work in a similar way. These treats not only taste delicious but help to clean your dog’s teeth and thus improve their breath.
We recommend greenies, which are available for dogs and cats. The treats come in different sizes for different breeds, and their shape and texture help to strip any plaque and tartar off their teeth and also freshen their breath. You can also buy specially formulated dry food such as Hill’s prescription diet t/d, that helps maintain good oral hygiene, and this can be given in place of regular dry food.
We have a lot of these product available at the hospital. Just drop in and one of our friendly staff can advice you which treat would suit your pet the best.
5:There is something in the water
There are many pet-friendly water additives for both cats and dogs. You simply add them to your pet’s water bowl, and they act similar to mouthwash. These products, such as healthymouth, have no taste so don’t affect your pet’s drinking habits. They not only help cover the smell of bad breath but also help control bacteria, and soften plaque, so that it is more easily stripped off by dental treats or a specialised dental kibble.
If you notice that your pet has particularly bad breath that persists, bring them into the Ark today for a free dental hygiene assessment with one of our nurses. We can identify any evidence of periodontal disease, and help you develop strategies to maintain good oral hygiene. We also offer dental cleaning procedures to remove existing plaque and tartar so you can continue with their dental care at home.