You love your pet and take the time to ensure that they eat a nutritious diet and get plenty of exercise, but have you been paying attention to the health of their teeth and gums? To help you keep your pet's mouth in tip-top condition follow the tips in this checklist from our Edgewater vets.
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 Animal General.
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 a number of 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 on a daily basis is the most effective at-home dental care you can provide. Purchase a dog or cat toothbrush and special pet toothpaste, and then gradually introduce them to the process. Be patient as they become more accustomed to the procedure. Brush gently in a circular motion with a small amount of pet toothpaste for 30-60 seconds on each side of their mouth. Make sure to reward your pet for good behavior so that they associate brushing their teeth with positive reinforcement.
4. Try A Dental Diet for Your Pet
Poor dental hygiene affects all cats and dogs; 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 is predisposed to dental problems, consult your veterinarian for specific recommendations on dental diet foods. These specially formulated foods may be useful in protecting your dog's 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 give advice 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. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.