You adore your pet and take time to make sure they get plenty of exercise and eat a nutritious diet, but what about the health of their teeth and gums? Our Concord vets share some tips and a checklist to help you keep up with your pet's dental care.
Checklist for Keeping Your Pet's Teeth & Gums Healthy
Your pet's dental health is essential to their overall health. However, many cats and dogs don't receive the dental care they need to maintain ideal oral health. This is often because pet parents are unaware of the importance of dental hygiene for cats and dogs. To help you keep your pets' teeth and gums healthy, follow these tips from our team at Four Corners Veterinary Hospital.
1. Book Annual Dental Checkups & Cleanings
Think of bringing your dog or cat to the vet for a dental checkup as similar to visiting your own dentist. Just like us, their annual dental health cleaning and exam is a critical aspect of their preventive healthcare. These visits allow your vet the opportunity to assess your pet's dental health and should begin early, before your four-legged companion develops dental issues.
The tooth cleaning process is performed under anesthesia and usually includes scaling to remove buildup from the tooth's surface and underneath the gum line, and polishing. Cleaning your pet's mouth maintains and improves your animal's dental health and gives your vet a chance to check for any developing or ongoing dental issues.
2. Get Your Pet's Dental Issues Treated As Soon As Possible
Does your pet have mysterious halitosis (bad breath), gingivitis, advanced gum disease or dental disease? Your vet may recommend a range of dental treatments to remove damaged, rotting or problem teeth that are causing issues for your pet's dental health.
3. Begin a Routine of Daily Brushing & Oral Hygiene
Brushing your pet's teeth every day is the best at-home dental care you can provide. Purchase a toothbrush designed for dogs or cats and a special pet toothpaste then slowly introduce them to the process. Be patient while they become more comfortable with the process. Use a tiny amount of the pet toothpaste, brush gently in a circular motion, and aim for 30-60 seconds on each side of their mouth. Make sure you reward your pet for their good behavior so that they associate tooth brushing with positive reinforcement.
4. Try A Dental Diet for Your Pet
No cat or dog is safe from the effects of poor dental hygiene, however, some breeds are more prone to severe dental health issues than others. If you have a toy, miniature, or small breed dog or if your pet faces an increased risk of dental health issues ask your vet for specific recommendations for dental diet foods. These specially formulated foods can be an effective to help protect your dog or cat's oral health.
5. Provide Your Pet with Tasty Dental Treats & Chews
Your vet's advice will be helpful here, as there is a huge variety of dental treats and chews that can reduce plaque but cannot prevent it. Trained, experienced veterinarians can give advice about which products will be helpful for your dog or cat.
6. Invest in Dental Chew Toys For Your Dog or Cat
Your pet's dental and oral health can benefit greatly from playtime! Most pet supply stores sell a wide range of toys made specifically for your cat or dog to play with and chew on. These toys are made to clean the teeth by removing plaque and discouraging tartar buildup.
7. Ensure That Your Pet Always Has Fresh, Clean Water
Ensuring that your cat or dog has access to clean, fresh water every day is another easy way to help them maintain their oral and overall health. Drinking water helps to wash away food debris and bacteria from your pet's mouth after they eat, which lessens the likelihood of them developing gingivitis and experiencing discomfort.
8. Keep in Mind That Stinky Breath Isn't Normal!
While our dogs' and cats' breath may not be minty-fresh when their oral health is at its best, it's important not to ignore things like noticeably bad breath when your animal companion barks, meows, or yawns right in your face. Beyond being unpleasant, it could be a sign of underlying oral health issues.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.