As with humans, dental health and hygiene in our pets is crucial and can affect their overall wellness. Preventative care begins at home, and in honor of National Pet Dental Health month, we've got some tips to ensure your pet's teeth are healthy.
- Vet Check-ups - Your pet’s teeth should be checked by your veterinarian every six to twelve months. During the month of February, many vets have discounts and specials on teeth cleanings and oral health related appointments; it's an excellent opportunity to schedule a visit. Schedule your cat or dog's teeth cleaning when you schedule your own dental appointment to serve as a reminder.
- Toothbrushes and Toothpaste - Brushing your pet's teeth at home helps to reduce the risk of plaque build-up, tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and flushes out bacteria. Be sure to use toothpaste specifically for pets - human toothpaste is harmful to pets. Pet toothbrushes are made with an angled head and some can be worn on the end of your finger to help clean those hard-to-reach areas.
- Brush Those Chompers - If you decide to brush your pet's teeth at home, start when they are young. It helps them become more accustomed to the process and could be less traumatic, for you and your pet. When brushing your pet's teeth, choose a time when your pet is calm and relaxed. Use a gentle, circular motion to brush the top and bottom teeth along the gum line, and focus on the heavier plaque areas. Speak soothingly to your pet as you go and follow up with a good dental treat.
- Healthy Chews for Teeth - Providing your pet with a synthetic bone or chew toy can help strengthen their gums and teeth and lessen plaque build-up. There are many toys specifically designed for chewing and appeal to various sizes, tastes, and strengths. Find which works best for your pet. Dental chews are also an option in helping with dental hygiene. Greenies are among the most popular, come in a variety of sizes and flavors, and can be found in the pet section at most stores. Be sure to give them safe and appropriate chews, and don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian what they recommend.
- Healthy Diet - As always, ensure that your pet has a balanced and nutritional diet. Dry kibble is better for reducing plaque buildup, while soft food is more likely to cling to teeth and sit in crevices of the mouth which can lead to tooth decay if not addressed. Active and energetic dogs that are eating a healthy diet will enjoy their chew toys more vigorously, as well. Talk to your vet about your dog’s unique nutrition needs, and discuss the best options for strong teeth and general wellness.
- Stay Aware - Our pets rely on us to take care of them, that is why taking note of any shifts in their behavior or health is crucial. Talk to your vet if you notice persistent bad breath, appetite lulls, broken or lose teeth, unusual chewing or drooling, oral pain or bleeding, swelling in or around the mouth, or yellowish-brown tartar build-up along the gum line. Don't wait for their next vet visit! Incorporating basic awareness and a few simple healthy habits into your pet's routine can add to their overall quality of life in the long run.
Don't forget that here at the Posh Paw, we offer teeth-brushing for $10! Don't hesitate to add this service to your pet's next groom or daycamp visit!