Every Month is Dental Health Month for Our Cats and Dogs!
19 February, 2015
February is dental health month for our pets, when in reality, every month should be dental health month! Dental health month is just a way to increase awareness that it is important for our pet’s overall health to keep their teeth in good condition. We, pet owners should be mindful of our pet’s teeth and overall dental condition as lack of proper dental care can lead to many health risks for our beloved cats and dogs. Regular home check-ups and brushing your dog’s and cat’s teeth can improve their dental health.
Below are some ways to check your dog or cat’s dental health without even going to the vet:
Have you smelled your cat or dog’s breath?
Have you smelled your dog or cat’s breath lately? Take a sniff of your dog or cat’s breath (preferably not right after eating!) It doesn’t have to be a long one and it doesn’t have to smell like fragrance, but it shouldn’t be offensive or off-smelling either. If your dog or cat’s mouth has an abnormally strong odor, your beloved might have a digestive problem or a gum condition such as gingivitis, and should be examined by a vet.
Take the time to examine your dog or cat’s gums
The easiest and most efficient way to examine your dog or cat’s gums is to do so with care! Make sure that your dog or cat is facing you and then gently push back his or her lips and take a look. Your pets’ gums should be firm and pink, not white or red, and should show no signs of swelling (really not that different from human gums). The teeth should be clean and free of any brownish tartar, and none should be loose or broken obviously!
Make sure to peruse your dog or cat’s mouth for anything unusual
If you see any of the below, there could be a bigger dental issue in your cat or dog’s mouth:
- Dark red line along the gums
- Ulcers on gums or tongue
- Loose teeth
- Pus or extreme salivation
- Difficulty chewing food
- Excessive drooling
- Excessive pawing at the mouth area
If you find any swelling or inflammation, you should take your dog or cat in for a veterinary exam. If you leave it untreated, gum disease can develop which could lead to tooth loss or inability to eat. Inflammation may also point to an internal problem like kidney disease or a virus.
Look out for tooth decay in your dog or cat
Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause a buildup your dog or cat’s teeth. This can harden into tartar, possibly causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss. Regular teeth cleanings, of course, helps combat tooth decay (as it does in people).
Schedule a time to brush your dog or cat’s teeth
While it’s not always easy, it’s important to brush your dog or cat’s teeth. You’ll need cotton swabs and a small toothbrush and a type of toothpaste formulated for dogs or cats. You can also use salt and water. Ask your vet to suggest some brushing supplies and be sure never to use toothpaste designed for people as the ingredients can be unhealthy for your dog or cat. You can also see my article on brushing your dogs’ teeth and same idea in cats: Click Here!
Implement chew toys in your dog or cat’s lives
Chew toys are great for your cats and especially dogs for so many reasons. It keeps your pets’ occupied and can also make their teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy can also help floss your pet’s teeth, massage their gums and scrape away soft tartar.
If your dog or cat has dental issues, look for a food that helps their teeth.
If your dog or cat has dental troubles, ask your veterinarian to recommend a food that keeps your beloved’s teeth healthy and helps to remove plaque buildup. There are a lot of different type of food on the market today that are made specifically for your dog or cat’s dental health. If you implement this type of food in their diet, that should help dental issues.
Make sure to take the time to check your dog or cat’s mouth regularly for any issues that might occur. If you see anything out of the ordinary, make sure to schedule and appoint with your veterinarian. If you keep up with dental cleanings with your vet, you will help your pet’s long term dental and overall health. Preventive care is the best care of all.