Checklist for Keeping Your Pet's Teeth & Gums Healthy
Good dental health is vitally important to the overall health of your pet, yet many cats and dogs don't receive the dental care they need to maintain optimal oral health. Often this comes down to pet parents being unaware of the importance of dental hygiene for cats and dogs. To help you give your pets the dental health care they need to maintain healthy teeth and gums follow these tips from our team at Summerville Animal Hospital.
1. Make Annual Dental Checkups & Cleanings a Priority
It's imperative to your dog or cat's overall health and longevity to take them in for their annual dental health check. These visits provide a great chance for your vet to evaluate your pet’s dental health and should start early before the animal develops dental problems. The tooth cleaning process is performed under anesthesia and typically includes scaling to remove build-up from the tooth's surface and below the gum line, and polishing. Cleaning improves the overall health of your pet's mouth and gives your vet a chance to monitor any emerging or ongoing dental issues.
2. Have Your Pet's Dental Issues Treated Right Away
If your pet has ongoing halitosis, gingivitis or advanced gum disease, or dental disease, your vet may recommend several available dental treatments or remove damaged, rotting, or otherwise troublesome teeth.
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 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 advise 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. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.