Pet dentistry is a step a lot of pet parents often overlook. Like humans, tooth issues can lead to terrible health problems for your pets down the line, so look over these pet oral care tips to ensure your pet has a healthy smile like you.
Take Your Pet to the Vet
Just like humans, pets should visit their doctor at least once a year, during which time the vet can examine their teeth. If things are looking fine, you can be confident that your oral health care plan has been working, but if needed, your vet may need to give your pet’s teeth a professional cleaning, and possibly X-rays.
Early Warning Signs
By the age of three, if dental care hasn’t been a regular part of their routine, dogs and cats’ teeth start to show the wear and tear of tartar and plaque build-up. Left untreated, your pets could start experiencing bloody gums, tooth pain, and in some extreme cases, tooth extraction. An early warning sign that something isn’t right in the mouths of both cats and dogs is terrible breath. If you start to notice that your pet’s breath has changed for the worse, you should immediately call your veterinarian. Severe mouth pain can cause your pet to stop eating, which might lead to even worse health problems, so take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice something wrong with their teeth.
Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) advises that pet owners begin brushing their pet’s teeth when they are very young so that they get used to the idea of their mouths being touched on a regular basis and won’t be as spooked by the idea the older they get. A small, soft-bristle tooth brush that can reach all of their teeth and gums is the best type of brush to use, and there are many types of pet-safe toothpaste in flavors for both cats and dogs that will make the experience a bit more enjoyable. If necessary, start teaching them the process by putting a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and lightly brushing your finger along their teeth and gums to help them become used to the feeling of something rubbing against their teeth. Never use human toothpaste to brush your pet’s teeth as dog and cat toothpastes are made to be ingested. You should brush your pet’s teeth at least three times a week, but that should be determined by your veterinarian.
Other Ways to Protect Their Teeth
Chew toys have always been a favorite way to entertain pets, but they can also be excellent ways to keep your dog’s teeth strong and clean. Any chew toys with the Veterinarian Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal are a good choice, as those will help knock the plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth.
Poking around in your pet’s mouth isn’t the most enjoyable experience for either you or your pet, but seeing your pet suffer from something that is preventable is worse.