Dental care is extremely important to the overall health of humans, so why would it be any different for our four-legged companions? The truth is that it isn’t. Dental health is very important for our pets, so you need to know how to keep your pet’s teeth in good condition. We have a few tips for you!
Get Regular Professional Cleanings
Annual or semi-annual dental cleanings allow a professional to do a deep clean on your pet’s teeth. For your pet’s safety, they are placed under anesthesia during a dental cleaning. This allows your veterinarian to use tools that will remove plaque and tartar buildup. After all of the gunk is removed from your pet’s teeth, the dentist will polish the teeth.
During dental cleanings, your veterinarian will probably take x-rays to check on the roots of the teeth and the jaw. Most dental disease occurs under the gums where you can’t see it just by looking in your pet’s mouth.
Brush Your Pet’s Teeth
In between professional cleanings, you can brush your pet’s teeth to reduce the amount of plaque and tartar that lives on the teeth. In fact, this is the most important thing you can do to protect your pet’s teeth. Many pet owners have difficulty brushing their pet’s teeth, which is why it is important to start brushing when your pet is young.
Use a species-specific toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste on pets, because it isn’t meant to be swallowed and could cause gastrointestinal problems when swallowed by your dog or cat. Additionally, it is up to you to determine which type of toothbrush works best for you and your pet. There are a variety of sizes and styles, including handled and finger brushes.
With dogs, you can treat teeth brushing like any other training. To do this, use a lot of positive reinforcement and treats, go slowly, and stop before your dog starts to get agitated.
Here are a few steps you can take to get your pet used to teeth brushing:
- Put a small amount of toothpaste in your pet’s mouth. Give them a treat to associate the taste with a positive action. Over time, you can gradually space out the time between when you give your pet the toothpaste and when you give them the treat.
- When your pet is used to the taste of the toothpaste, you can put a little on a small finger toothbrush and let your pet lick at it. Reward with a treat afterward.
- Eventually, you can start brushing your pet’s teeth. Start with just the outer surface of the teeth. Give your pet a treat afterward.
- Continue to brush more and more of your teeth every day. Continue to give your pet a treat after each brushing as a reward. Eventually, your pet will get used to you brushing their teeth.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is the best way to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. If you can brush your pet’s teeth as often as possible, you might be able to combat all kinds of oral health issues throughout their lives.
Start Your Pet on a Dental Diet
Another way that you can help care for your pet’s teeth is to put them on a diet that is specifically formulated to keep plaque and tartar at bay. When looking for dental pet food, make sure that the bag has the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal of Acceptance on it.
Use Dental Chews
You’ve probably seen all kinds of dental chews as you browse through the treats at the pet store. Dental chews usually have an abrasive texture that can help remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, and some contain ingredients that work to remove plaque and tartar for up to 24 hours. These dental chews are much better for your pet than bones or antlers that can cause teeth to break as well as gastrointestinal problems.
Use Other Dental Products
If you do a little research, you will see that there are numerous different kinds of dental hygiene products on the market for dogs and cats. Aside from dental foods, chews, and toothpaste, there are also oral rinses and sprays that are super easy to use. In fact, a lot of these products come with spray applicators. Most oral rinses and sprays contain zinc and chlorhexidine gluconate to help prevent plaque buildup in the mouth. You can use these products after a meal to rinse your pet’s teeth.
Additionally, you can buy water additives that can help with dental cleanliness. Some of these additives come in premeasured packets to make it super easy for you to add them to your pet’s water. However, you will need to monitor your pet’s water intake, as they may stop drinking the water if they don’t like the taste. To help with this, you can offer your pet two different bowls of water, one should contain the additive and the other should be plain water.
Dental sealants are another product that you might consider using on your dog or cat’s teeth. These sealants create a barrier between the teeth and any bacteria living in the mouth to prevent tartar and plaque from adhering to the teeth. These should only be applied for the first time after a professional dental cleaning. You can then reapply the sealant once a week.