Help your pet stay healthy with dental care at home and at the vet’s office
We all know the benefits of regular dental care for humans: better breath, stronger teeth, and reduced risk of pain, infections, and tooth loss. Don’t you want these same benefits for your pet? Regular dental care—both at home and at the vet’s office—is vital for the long-term health and comfort of your pet. Fortunately, good dental care for pets is relatively easy to achieve. All it takes is a little bit of training and commitment. Here are some tips to help you make sure your pet is getting the dental care they need.
Check Teeth & Gums Regularly
Like people, pets can develop gum disease, cavities, tumors, and cysts in the mouth that can not only be very painful, but potentially even cause life-threatening complications in the case of an abscess or a cancerous growth. By simply inspecting your pet’s teeth and gums on a regular basis, you can help catch any oral health issues early and get the proper treatment. Your pet’s gums should be pink, not white or red, with no signs of swelling or bleeding. Teeth should be intact, ideally with very little brownish tartar.
Brush to Remove Plaque
Plaque, or the film of bacteria that lives on dirty teeth, can cause cavities and gum inflammation in pets just like it does in people. In order to help keep plaque levels down, you should brush your pet’s teeth at home on a regular basis using a specially formulated pet toothpaste and a cat or dog toothbrush. For best results, ask your veterinarian to help you select a quality toothpaste and to demonstrate proper brushing technique. With time and proper training, your pet will come to tolerate their tooth brushing sessions.
Watch What Your Pet Eats
The types of foods that your pets eat can contribute to or help prevent dental problems. For example, wet pet foods tend to stick to teeth more, potentially leading to tooth decay. Dry foods and specially designed chew toys can actually help remove plaque and tartar to promote healthier teeth. Ask your vet about possible changes to your pet’s diet that may help improve oral health, such as switching to a product like Hill’s Prescription Tartar Control Diet.
Visit the Vet for Regular Dental Cleanings
Once plaque turns into tartar (that brown stuff on your pet’s teeth near the gum line) the only way to remove it is with a special dental cleaning at your veterinarian’s office. Dental cleaning or dental scaling is safe and effective for any pet that is healthy enough to be sedated for the procedure. A professional dental cleaning also provides a good opportunity for your pet to get a thorough dental exam, which will help identify any issues such as cysts, tumors, or severely decayed or infected teeth. These problems can then be addressed with surgery at a veterinary hospital to help your pet feel better and hopefully live longer.