Chin Up: Home Pet Dental Care You Can Smile About
The field of veterinary dentistry has made enormous strides in recent years, and the addition of exams and professional cleanings can add vitality to your pet’s overall wellness. A critical piece of the puzzle, however, is routine maintenance between cleanings. Most owners know a bit about at-home pet dental care, but Fluffy needs more than just a dental chew here and there.
Ignoring plaque and tartar buildup on your pet’s teeth can lead to significant health problems, including inflammation, infection, and eventual tooth decay and loss.
An initial indicator of dental disease is the smell of your pet’s breath. Since the majority of cats and dogs over the age of two have dental disease in one form or another, it’s important not to let this slide. Poor oral health can have surprising effects on the health of your pet’s heart, liver, and kidneys.
We understand that starting a pet dental care regimen at home can be daunting. Fortunately, we can assure you that with time, patience, and practice, the simple act of tooth brushing will become second nature.
Committing to pet dental care at home reduces tartar buildup on the teeth and strengthens the gum line by removing bacteria caused by plaque. Plus, regular attention to your pet’s teeth and gums can reduce the need for professional dental cleanings or more serious dental procedures, like extractions.
All in the Timing
It’s helpful if your pet feels relaxed, full, and comfortable prior to introducing this new experience. Consider these steps to facilitate a positive outcome:
- First, get your pet used to having his or her teeth and gums touched. Dip your finger in broth and rub gently at the front of the mouth and work your way back slowly. Pay attention to the gum line.
- If your pet seems fine with this, wrap your finger in gauze and repeat process in a circular motion.
- Now your pet is ready for his or her specially-designed toothbrush. You may choose water or pet toothpaste, but never use human toothpaste.
- Your goal is about 2 minutes of brushing every day, but it can take time to work up to this. Offer lots of praise and encouragement. Above all, don’t give up!
Pet Dental Care
Safe chew toys, like those made with a soft nylon material, may be worthwhile, but avoid offering anything harder than your pet’s teeth. Chewing on bones, antlers, and hooves can actually break your pet’s teeth.
High-quality dry pet food can be better for your pet’s teeth, and we’re happy to offer our recommendations for optimal nutrition and supportive pet dental care.
Let Us Know
Our doctors and staff are happy to assist clients in learning the basics of pet dental care at home. Once you get into the habit, like grooming or trimming nails, brushing your pet’s teeth will come easily and painlessly!
As with anything related to your pet’s health and happiness, we encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns.