Does your pet have bad breath?
"Brushing is the gold standard for good oral hygiene at home – for pets and people. It is very effective, but some dogs and more cats don't appreciate having something in their mouth," said Dr. Colin Harvey, a professor at University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine.
The bulk of bad breath odor — the trademark rotten egg smell — comes from hydrogen sulfide. That is the waste from anaerobic bacteria that thrive without oxygen in places like gaps between teeth and gums. Plaque buildup also invites the bacteria and as the accumulation grows, so does the smell.
Harvey says chew toys or ropes, hard treats or cookies are good substitutes for a teeth-brushing.
Puppies and kittens are born toothless. They get their baby teeth before they're a month old, lose them three to five months later and get their permanent teeth by age 1. Dogs have 42 teeth and cats have 30.
Christie Keith spends about two minutes each night brushing the teeth of her three dogs after dinner. She believes most dog owners needlessly fear brushing their dogs' teeth.
"But cats are another story," she added.
Harvey said that's because cats' mouths are smaller, their teeth sharper and they could care less about bonding with a human during designated tooth time.
Critical thinking challenge: Explain why it is easier to brush a dog’s teeth than a cat’s teeth.
Define these words: bonding, accumulation
- Posted on January 16, 2013
Fido-friendly Florida is a pooch’s paradise
Pet owners go gaga for gizmos as gifts
Blind sled dog gets help from his brother
Book tells tales of presidential pets