Checklist For Optimizing Your Pet's Dental Health
Good dental health is vitally important to the overall health of your dog or cat, 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 New England Veterinary Center & Cancer Care.
1. Prioritize Dental Cleanings & Checkups for Your Pet
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 Developing Dental Problems Treated Right Away
If your pet has ongoing halitosis, gingivitis or advanced gum disease, or dental disease, your vet may recommend a number of available dental treatments or remove damaged, rotting, or otherwise troublesome teeth.
3. Make Brushing Your Pet's Teeth Part of Your Daily Routine
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 Nutritious Dental Care Food 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 an effective to help protect your dog or cat's oral health.
5. Provide Your Pet with Dental Treats & Chews They Enjoy
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 give advice about which products will be helpful for your dog or cat.
6. Invest in Dental Chew Toys For Your Dog or Cat
Dental health doesn't have to be serious all the time. There is a wide variety of pet toys that are specially designed to improve and maintain great dental health for dogs and cats! These toys are made with tooth friendly materials molded into unique shapes that work to clean the teeth and gums by removing plaque and discouraging tartar buildup, as your pet chews. Find a dental toy your pet enjoys and encourage chewing once a day..
7. Always Have Fresh, Clean Water Available for Your Pet
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. Remember That Smelly Breath Isn't Normal for Pets!
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. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.