Cats and dogs have teeth; we see them, respect their innate ability to tear through flesh, and, sometimes, we smell them. Caring for pets’ teeth isn’t an optional pet care task but it can be challenging, which is why most pet parents tend to avoid it. Following are some tips we think might make the task of caring for pets’ teeth that much easier.
Schedule Regular Dental Care
The first and most important step to caring for our pets’ teeth is to have them checked regularly by a veterinarian. According to AAHA.org, “By the age of three, most dogs and cats have some degree of dental disease. The early signs of dental disease in pets include bad breath, yellow tartar buildup on the teeth, and red and swollen gums.” For this reason, regular dental checkups set pets up for a long life of healthy teeth and gums.
In addition to regular check-ups, pets need dental cleanings. Veterinarians recommend professional dental cleaning approximately every year or two. Smaller breeds may need them more often, especially if they have a history of gum disease and/or tooth decay.
Practice At-Home Dental Care
Caring for your pets’ teeth at home can be tedious. Most pets don’t like to have their mouths touched, let alone messed with. But, keep in mind that this is a necessary part of pet care. Whether they like it or not, it’s essential to regularly clean pets’ teeth at home.
Between pet-specific toothbrushes and paste, dental chews, and more, the market is flooded with options. The Veterinary Oral Health Council has compiled lists of recommended dental products for dogs and cats. Dog and cat toothpaste vary in quality and ingredients, therefore, don’t purchase anything without understanding how it works and what it contains.
If you’ve been slacking off on your pet’s dental hygiene, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian and plan to start over after a professional cleaning. According to many vets, committing to regular brushing after a cleaning procedure makes sense and facilitates the process.
Consider the Impact of Diet
Diet plays an important role in oral health in humans and pets. For this reason, it’s important to invest in the highest quality pet food one can afford. Kibble, for example, can stick to the surfaces of the teeth and create a thick film referred to as tartar. In the past, kibble and crunchy dry food were recommended to keep a pet’s teeth healthy, but studies have shown that it may do the opposite.
If your budget doesn’t allow for anything other than kibble, purchase the best kibble you can afford. Try to stick to kibble that limits fillers and add fresh foods to the bowl whenever possible.
To learn more about dental disease in pets and the importance of veterinary intervention, click here. While pets prefer their trusted humans to handle their at-home dental care, our team is happy to recommend dental products and techniques that may make the process more appealing to everyone involved.