pet home dental careMost pet owners are familiar with the unpleasant (or downright foul) stench of doggie or kitty breath, but did you know that bad breath can indicate less-than-stellar dental health for a pet? Studies show that 85% of adult pets have some form of dental disease, and the bacteria found in plaque and tartar can have a negative impact on the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver.

When it comes to pets, a healthy mouth is paramount to a healthy body. You can help your furry friend achieve optimal oral health through a commitment to pet home dental care, and your team at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center can get you started.

The Daily Brushings

Can you imagine going days, weeks, months, even years without brushing your teeth? For most pets this is a reality. The truth is that dogs, cats, and other pets benefit from daily toothbrushing just as much as humans. Try these tips to incorporate brushing into your pet care regimen:

  • Each brushing session should take place when your pet is relaxed and happy, such as after a walk or meal.
  • Acclimate your pet to having their mouth checked by dipping a finger into broth or water and inserting it into the mouth, rubbing it gently over the teeth and gums.
  • Once your pet has adjusted to your finger, move on to a gauze-wrapped finger or silicone finger toothbrush. Rub over all the teeth in a circular motion from front to back.
  • Move on to a toothbrush designed for pets. You can use water or a pet-safe toothpaste (never use human toothpaste as it contains ingredients that are toxic to pets). Ideally, your pet’s teeth should be brushed for a total of 2 minutes, each day.
  • Once per week, lift your pet’s lips and examine the mouth for signs of dental disease. In a healthy mouth, the gums will be pink and not show signs of swelling or bleeding. Teeth should be clean and free of tartar buildup.
  • Don’t forget to offer plenty of praise and snuggles afterward!

Pet Home Dental Care Products

Although pet home dental care products are not a replacement for daily brushing and professional dental cleanings, they can play an important role in your pet’s good oral hygiene by preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar.

Chewing can be a good way to reduce tartar buildup on the teeth, just make sure to stay away from hard items such as antlers, hooves, or dried bones that may chip or fracture your pet’s teeth. If you are in doubt about any pet home dental care product, check the Veterinary Oral Health Counsel’s website for a list of products that have been shown to support dental health.

Good Health Begins With You

Remember, no dental chew or other product can cure advanced dental disease in a pet. Keep your pet’s regular wellness appointments, and follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for further care. Please give us a call with any questions or concerns you have about your pet.