Pets also need clean, healthy teeth.

Published on 08/02/2021 12:30 / Updated on 08/02/2021 12:31

(credit: personal archive)

Pets are susceptible to various diseases just like humans. With regard to oral health, the “animals like us” hypothesis also applies. Harmful bacteria can visit the mouths of dogs and cats, so hygiene must be taken care of regularly to ensure the health of the animals.

From the point of view of dental specialist Thaíssa Quintas, of Doctor Vet, when talking about dentistry, one must bear in mind the importance that goes beyond the aesthetic realm. “When we think of oral health, we’re not just talking about an aesthetic issue, it’s not something you can do without. Animals, like us, have allergies and all the physiological issues that make them feel pain. The difference is that they’re more resistant,” he says.

For veterinary dentist Julie Miner, from Surevet, it is important to take care of the animals’ mouths, as problems with dental health are reflected in the whole body. Bacteria in the mouth can reach anywhere the bloodstream can reach, and it can reach any other organ. So, when we take care of oral health, we take care of health as a whole.”

According to her, the biggest problem with the accumulation of bacteria is the formation of tartar. If it is not removed, it can develop into a serious condition and cause bone destruction, resulting in tooth loss. Although people associate tooth loss with age, the vet explains that the condition is related to a lack of daily hygiene, not the age factor.

To identify gum disease caused by excess bacteria, Julie offers golden advice: Did you know the little breath we’re used to sniffing the mouth of a cat or dog? It is nothing more than bad breath caused by bacterial fermentation: a sign of a problem. “We tend to think that animal breath really stinks, which is normal. But really, it’s not supposed to be the case. With proper treatment and brushing, this bad breath will not exist,” he guides.

How do we care?

The first step in caring for the oral health of dogs and cats is to create positive conditioning. Julie warns that if the animal already has a problem, such as gingivitis and tartar, brushing, in addition to having no effect, will send a negative message. Therefore, it is important for the pet to start treatment with a healthy mouth, that is, when it is young or has recently cleaned it. It is in this sense that we start positive conditioning, which is to show the animal that moving its mouth is not something that causes pain. The younger he is starting this process, the better.”

To communicate the message that the animal is rewarded, the vet refers to the prize method, which consists of giving a prize, any food the pet likes, such as a cookie, in small quantities. Kind words can serve as positive encouragement and make them feel welcome.

It’s time to brush only after the animal is used to the treats. It should be used daily, or at most every other day, and it should be baby type, with a small head and soft bristles, to facilitate brushing. As for toothpaste, Jolie classifies it as consumable, because in the case of animals, only mechanical friction is sufficient for hygiene success.

But if the master wants to use it, she recommends veterinary pastes with flavors acceptable to the animal, so as not to cause negative effects. “What I suggest to the teachers is that they put some paste on their fingers and let the animal smell it and lick it. If it is not interested in knowing what it is, it is better not to use anything at all, otherwise it will be negatively conditioned.”

According to Tayssa, brushing is the only way to prevent dental problems. The miracle products on pet store shelves forbid her to use them, because they are palliative only and without scientific evidence. In addition, the act of gnawing on bones, popularized by folk beliefs as a good way to brush a dog’s teeth, is a myth. “Breaking bones does not clean tartar, nor does it prevent the mouth from getting dirty. Biting bones, especially cows, causes a lot of fractures of the teeth and even the jaw. It is very harmful,” he asserts.

positive routine

Another point to keep in mind is where the master does this brushing. According to Jolie, the ideal is for this to be done by the owner himself in an environment where the animal feels safe. Vet clinics and pet stores can be stressful due to the noise and distractions typical of these places.

The mental state of the teacher also influences this process. “Brushing should be done in such a way that the animal separates everything that is negative. Therefore, we recommend a time when the teacher is also calmer, to avoid running and stress, because the animal is very sensitive and will feel when the teacher is tense and nervous,” he says.

Pilot Bruno Belfort, 31, literally follows these precautions when looking after his three cats: Tom, Charlotte and Mel. Every day, except for the occasions when they run away from home for a while, Bruno brushes their teeth. His grooming routine began after an illness was discovered in one of his kittens, which prompted him to pay more attention to the animals’ oral health.

The secret to not failing at the task is to organize and find a time of day that fits the owner’s routine. In his case, this time around 8 p.m., after physical exercise. “It is very important to be vigilant about the oral health of both your cat and dog, as they take a long time to show signs of something going on. That is why it is always a good idea to brush your teeth daily, taking the opportunity to look at your teeth. He believes.

Mother of two children: Katy Perry, of the scchipperke breed, and Pepeu, a mixture of Ilhaa and Maltese, statistician Roxana Campos, 52, seeks to take care of the health of her friends at home, but does not give up completely on dental treatment once a year. “No matter how much you clean at home, it is difficult to clean 100% because we work and have a busy routine. When you go to the dentist, the cleaning is deeper.”

During the epidemic, I promoted the hygiene of animals. The procedure is always the same: after the pets arrive from the street, Roxana washes her paws with water and brushes her teeth. Since they are accustomed to ritual hygiene from an early age, statistics find it easy to keep them calm during the process. “I think it’s important to take care of pets. She suggests you have an animal, so you have to be responsible for it. All the problems that humans have, they also have.”

* Trainee under the supervision of Sybil Negromonte

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