Gone are the days when we used to throw Spot a bone and assume that keeps his canines in good shape. We now know that dental neglect can lead to systemic infections and many of the same problems you might see in people, such as heart, lung, and kidney disease.

Pet dental care is one of the most overlooked forms of care when it comes to our four-legged friends. The team at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center want to emphasize the importance of oral health and help you establish a good dental care routine for your furry little friend.

Beyond the Brush

In a previous post, we covered techniques for brushing your cat or dog’s teeth. Ideally, each tooth brushing session should last 3-5 minutes. Of course, when you’re first easing into the process, a few seconds of massaging the gums or touching the teeth with a gauze-wrapped finger may be enough.

Once your pet becomes accustomed to the brush and pet toothpaste (never use your own), spend a solid 5 minutes brushing in a circular motion to help remove food, bacteria, and plaque.

Brushing should occur at least 2-3 times each week (ideally every day).

Another benefit of brushing is that it gives you a chance to inspect your pet’s gums and teeth. When doing so, pay attention to any changes in tooth color, redness or bleeding of the gums, and the general condition of your pet’s teeth and mouth (bad breath?).

Since these signs can indicate dental disease, please follow up with us should you observe any changes.

The Truth About Treats

Now, we come to the issue of dental chews. Can they be helpful? Sure! However, we hate to break it to you, but they do not replace the positive effects of tooth brushing.

Not all chews are beneficial, so instead of loading your pet up with extra calories, consult the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s list of approved dental treats. Also ask us at your pet’s next wellness check-up.

Nutrition to Support Dental Health

When it comes to food, hard kibble can be better for your pet’s choppers, but it still does not replace brushing. For felines and other pets who require the moisture content and dietary benefits of wet food, the team at Animal Family can help you choose the right meal plan for your four-legged family member.

Room for Improvement: Pet Dental Care

Because two-thirds of all pets develop some form of periodontal disease at a young age, professional cleanings and exams are a must for future health and well-being. Tending to your pet’s teeth not only helps him or her to feel better, it can also increase your pet’s lifespan – something we all want for our fur babies.

Please contact us to make an appointment or to receive more information about pet dental care.