Bad breath in dogs and cats is not "normal." It is often a sign of infected gums and inflammation. Inflammation is a nasty thing that rarely happens in just one part of the body.
Diseases ending in "itis" are inflammatory diseases. (arthritis, pancreatitis...) Unhealthy bacteria from the mouth makes it's way into organs like the heart, liver and kidneys, challenging the immune system and weakening resistance to all illnesses.
Most of us brush our teeth and see the hygienist or dentist at least once a year to avoid periodontal disease. This is critical because people with periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop heart problems as those without.
Clean Teeth, Healthy Body
1) Feed a raw diet. Dogs and cats eating a balanced, species specific raw diet have healthier teeth and gums than those who who eat dry kibble or canned foods. Period. Remember, dry kibble is not an effective teeth cleaner. Real meat jerky, without additives or preservatives, as well as some freeze-dried meat treats can help keep teeth and gums healthy.
2) Add raw meaty bones or chicken/turkey necks. But before you do, you must prepare your companion to be able to eat and digest them. Yogurt, probiotics, and digestive support are essential to add to their diet at least one week before feeding bones or your companion can experience digestive problems including dangerous blockages. Make a time to discuss this with me or your holistic vet if you've never introduced raw bones before.
3) Brush their teeth. Make a homemade paste from white cheddar cheese and water. Dog and cat toothpastes often contain unhealthy preservatives and artificial flavorings. White cheddar cheese has enzymes that break down the bacteria that cause plaque. Plus it's yummy!
To introduce your animal to brushing, start by letting them lick the cheese paste off your fingers, then, once they're used to that, start massaging the cheese into gums. Next, add a gauze pad wrapped around your finger. Finally, graduate your companion to a tooth brush they'll accept.
4) Have their teeth cleaned by the vet every 3 - 4 years. If your animal is a good candidate for anesthesia-free teeth cleaning, do that once a year, but still have the vet do a deep cleaning as often as your vet determines is necessary.
Anesthesia is always a risk, but good vets are very careful. Be sure you're comfortable with their equipment and procedures. If you're not, your animal will sense your anxiety and get anxious as well. Remember to give your animal Rescue Remedy for a few days before their appointment. I always recommend some homeopathic remedies to support and speed up healing from any soreness, especially if there are extractions.
If a dental cleaning is in your companion's future, please contact me for a session, ideally at least one week before, to prepare your animal (and you) for the procedure and help them recover rapidly after. I have some wonderful tools in my tool box to support them emotionally and physically!
Warmest wishes, wags and purrs to all!
Your Voice of the Animals,