8 Ways to Improve Your Pets’ Dental Health!
6 February, 2017
February is dental health month for our pets. It’s a reminder that our dog or cat’s overall dental health and condition are as important as a healthy diet and exercise! Proper dental care can prohibit dental disease that not only affects the mouth, but can also lead to more serious health problems such as heart, lung, and kidney disease. Good dental hygiene is just as important for pets as it is for humans.
Below are eight ways to check and improve your dog and cat’s dental health.
1. Have your veterinarian check your dog or cat’s teeth every time your visit
If you take the time to check your dog or cat’s mouth regularly and make sure that your Vet checks your pets’ teeth, you can help your pet’s long term dental and overall health. He or she will alert you to any existing or potential problems in your pet’s mouth, and recommend professional teeth cleaning under anesthesia, if necessary.
2. Check your dog or cat’s breath
Take a sniff of your pet’s breath! It doesn’t have to be a long one and it doesn’t have to smell like perfume, but it shouldn’t be offensive either. If your dog or cat’s mouth has an abnormally strong odor, there could be a digestive issue or gum condition such as gingivitis and you should call your vet to discuss.
3. Perform routine mouth inspections at home
Look in your dog or cat’s mouth and feel around for loose teeth or unusual lumps or bumps on the tongue, under the tongue, along the gum line and on the roof of his mouth. After you do this a few times, you’ll become sensitive to any changes that might occur from one inspection to the next.
4. Look out for any swelling in your pet’s mouth
If you find any swelling or inflammation, you should take your dog or cat in for a veterinary exam. If left untreated, gum disease can develop, possibly leading to tooth loss or inability to eat. Inflammation may also point to an internal problem like kidney disease or a virus.
5. If you see any tooth decay, make sure to schedule a cleaning with your vet.
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).
6. Try to brush your cat’s or dog’s teeth
While it can be challenging, particularly in cats, it’s important to brush your dog or cat’s teeth. Use a toothbrush or wrap your finger in gauze and hold it at a 45-degree angle to the teeth. Using small, circular motions, work in one area of your dog or cat’s mouth at a time. Since the most tartar builds up on the tooth surfaces that touch the cheek, concentrate there and finish up with a downward stroke on the teeth to remove tartar. Never use toothpaste designed for people as the ingredients can be unhealthy for your dog or cat.
7. Chew Toys Can Improve Dental Health
Chew toys can satisfy both your dog and sometimes cat’s natural desire to chomp, while making their teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy can also help floss your pet’s teeth, massage their gums and scrape away soft tartar and help control plaque.
8. Choose a food that promotes dental health
If your dog or cat has any dental issues, 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. There are also different drops you can add to your pets’ drinking water to help your pet’s teeth.
If you take the time to check your dog or cat’s mouth regularly and make sure that your Vet checks your pets’ teeth every visit, you can help your pet’s long term dental and overall health.