February is Dental & Heart Month!
Did you know that pets with a healthy mouth live a longer, healthier life?
Taking a bite out of bad breath is not just about keeping your pet’s teeth pearly white. Where tartar and odour lie, bad bacteria are sure to be found. Like our own bodies, your pet’s body is teeming with bacteria creating what is known as the microbiome. Different parts of the body have their own microbiome and keeping good and bad bacteria in balance is the key to better health. So what does that mean for your pet’s oral microbiome health?
In a balanced mouth those good bacteria will get to work keeping the teeth and gums clean and free of inflammation. If bad microbes find their way in and are given the right conditions to flourish we begin to see that sticky yellow tartar form on the tooth surface. Those bacteria meanies don’t just stick around the snout, they can easily travel through the body and often enter the bloodstream putting stress on the heart and other organs.
How do I spot signs of imbalance in my pet’s mouth?
#1 - Bad Breath
If your dog can clear a room with halitosis you can bet that something is off inside that oral microbiome and quite possibly their gut.
#2 - Tartar & Plaque
Tartar is that sticky yellow build up that you may find on your pet’s teeth. When left to build up tartar will calcify and turn into plaque, that hard build up that often comes with bad doggie breath and is much harder to remove.
#3 - Gingivitis
Whether or not your pet is showing signs of plaque and tartar build up you want to be on the lookout for gingivitis. Gently lift your pet's jowls and take a close look at that gum line. Do you see a thin red line where the gum meets the tooth? That’s gingivitis, or inflammation or the gums. Left untreated it can weaken the gum line allowing for further inflammation and increased oral health issues.
Yikes! Now what do I do?
1 - Get in there and take a look. Regularly looking in your pet’s mouth is important; it will allow you to keep an eye on changes and be proactive in your pet’s oral health. Check for lumps, bumps, loose teeth, and sensitive areas. Be proactive and on the lookout for changes.
2 - Feed Fresh, Healthy Foods. Raw and home cooked diets that are full of fresh humanely raised meats and healthy fruits and veggies are a great way to assist with good oral health. If feeding a kibble diet, there are still great ways to up the fresh nutrition profile. Start by adding chopped raw or cooked veggies like broccoli, kale, and parsley if you have a dog. Think about adding a small amount of raw or cooked meats and fish for your cat or dog. Small additions of fresh, low carbohydrate options are a great step towards a healthy pet.
3 - Pre & Probiotics: Adding a high quality pre & probiotic supplement to your pet’s mealtime will help to bring both the gut and the mouth into a state of balance. Making sure pre-biotics are in the supplement further assist the support of good bacteria colonies and keep those unwanted microbes in check.
4 - Play & Tug: Games and playtime that use the mouth are a great way to keep your pet’s mouth actively clean. Toys and tugs meant to exercise the jaw and gently brush against the tooth massage the gums helping to provide necessary friction to wipe tartar away. Bones and other digestible chews also provide this friction and produce saliva while exercising and cleansing the mouth.
5 - Brush & treat their teeth to some TLC. Regular brushing with a pet safe paste will help keep that sticky tartar at bay. Does your pet hate the toothbrush? Try wrapping some gauze around your finger and apply a bit of pet toothpaste. Gently rub your pet’s teeth, especially around the gum line. Keep it playful!
6 - Make a dental spray at home:
Probiotic Dental Spray
1 serving of your pet's daily probiotic supplement
1 or 2 oz of spring water
A small spray bottle
Put water in your spray bottle and add the serving of probiotic. Shake until most of the supplement is dissolved and able to pass through the spray nozzle.
Spray onto your pet's teeth 20 minutes before a meal. Empty remaining water & supplement mix onto your pet's meal before feeding.
Are you interested in learning more about your pet's oral health? Stay tuned for our new podcast launching later this month!