Dental Health Month

Dental problems in dogs and cats

It is a fact that 80% of dogs and cats over the age of 3 suffer from dental problems in the form of plaque and tartar. If these problems are not taken care of in time, there is a high risk of irreparable damage to the gums, teeth and jaw. 

1. Bad breath

Bad breath if often caused by bacteria hiding in the protected areas of the mouth. When these bacteria are not removed quickly, the lead to the formation of bad breath and inflammation. 

2. Chewing
Once gums come into contact with bacteria, the gums can become inflamed and chewing can become painful. Animals do not chew as well and often swallow their chunks, instead of chewing them. 

3. Games
When an animal suffers from inflamed gums, it will also not be interested in games of tug with toys or a rope. This could be a good indication of dental problems. 

4. Smell
An inflammation of the upper teeth such as a root inflammation can affect the dog's sense of smell. It is therefore important that the owner pays attention to the proper dental hygiene of his dog. 

Origin of dental problems

It starts with plaque at the base of the teeth; a whitish-yellow deposit of food particles and bacteria. When not removed, the plaque will turn into tartar. This spreads over the whole tooth and under the gums. There it causes a painful inflammation (Gingivitis). If the infection spreads further along the roots, this is called Periodontitis. In time, the teeth lose their grip and become loose. 

Good to know: most dogs and cats can swallow their chunks without chewing, which can lead to the mistaken belief that they do not suffer from dental problems. Regular check-ups by the vet are important. In order to make dogs and cats eat more slowly, the Eat Slow Live Longer feed bowls are available. 

Brushing teeth
How can dental problems be prevented? The answer is brushing: teach your dog to have its teeth brushed by you. It is best to start this as soon as possible, when your dog ist still a puppy. We provide “starter kits” containing tooth paste, finger brushes and a special brush. 

Just as important to the teeth, is the feed you provide your pet. Make sure you offer chunks of sufficient size. MAX Dog Food is a food line that meets this requirement. The chucks are of a large size with sufficient structure. If brushing seems impossible, or in the case where plaque or tartar builds up quickly despite brushing, we offer Dental Oral Care. Dental Oral Care ensures that plaque has no chance to develop and prevents the formation of tartar. 

Furthermore, all kinds of chews and bones are available such as the Wonder Snaxx. Besides that, we offer different kinds of toys, that help to clean your dog's teeth while playing. 

Facts about dog's teeth
Dogs and cats are true carnivores and therefore have typical carnivore teeth. This means that their teeth are suitable for catching their prey (strong canines) and tearing it up (large incisors). The development of teeth already starts in the womb where the germs of the teeth are  formed in the unborn foetus. Just like humans, dogs and cats have milk teeth and permanent teeth. 

Changing teeth
Puppies and kittens are born without teeth. After two to four weeks, the first teeth  become visible. When the young dog or cat is about 7 months old, all of its teeth will have been changed. 

The permanent teeth of the dog contain 42 elements:
12 incisors (6 upper and 6 lower)
4 canines (2 upper and 2 lower
16 premolars. False teeth (8 upper and 8 lower)
10 molars. True molars (4 upper and 6 lower)

The permanent teeth of the cat contain 30 elements:
12 incisors (6 upper and 6 lower)
4 canines (2 upper and 2 lower
10 premolars. False teeth (6 upper and 4 lower)

Untreated tartar and gingivitis
Tartar/ plaque and gum inflammation can eventually lead to chronic inflammation. Then teeth, attachment of teeth to the bone tissue of the jaw, the jaw itself and the gums can be seriously affected. At this stage, the animal has a lot of pain in the mouth. The infection can also make your dog sick and give him a fever, this happens when the bacteria get into the bloodstream. Dental problems are particularly dangerous in heart and kidney patients. 

Wearing out the teeth in dogs
Many dogs like to play with sticks and tennis balls. Other dogs like to chew on the bars of the bench or on a dog chain. If this is done often enough, the teeth wear out very quickly. Therefore, make sure you have toys specially made for dogs and their teeth. That way, your dog's teeth will remain undamaged despite hours of play.