February is National Pet Dental Health month, and believe it or not, there are many ways to keep your pooches pearly whites healthy in addition to brushing. In order for brushing to be effective it should be performed multiple times per week. If you are looking to start a pet dental regimen, I recommend purchasing Virbac CET toothpaste online or from your vet. Virbac toothpaste provides a natural antibacterial action and inhibits the formation of plaque. It also acts quickly to help eliminate mouth odors. If your pet struggles with a toothbrush, you can use something as simple as gauze wrapped around your finger.
There are many other ways to keep your dog’s teeth clean over the course of their life. A daily diet of kibble is going to be much better for your dog than wet food, which can get stuck in between their teeth. The quality of the dog food can make a difference—kibble with higher protein content will be more beneficial in the long run.
I recommend chew toys such as Nylabones to all my clients for multiple issues. Keeping your dog busy with chews and toys is not only good for your dog’s mental well-being, but it is also good for their teeth and gums. Giving your dog chews and toys daily helps to mechanically remove plaque and tartar, and is likely the easiest thing you can do for your dog.
And last but certainly not least, there are all kinds of dog treats designed specifically to help with your dog’s dental health (and breath)! Not all products advertised this way work as well as others but your best bet is to look into products that are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. You can find a full list of products with the VOHC seal of acceptance at VOHC Seal.
Dental issues can lead to much more serious problems as your pet ages. Practicing good dental hygiene as soon as possible is the way to go. The younger you start brushing your dog’s teeth, the more likely they are to get used to it and maybe even enjoy it.
About the Author: Jessica Vezina is a certified dog trainer, working with animals full-time at Manypaws Pet Villa in Westport, MA. When she is not at work, Jessica does occasional volunteer work, and enjoys spending time with her three cats, and rescue dog named Stella. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or 508-642-4863.
Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in dogs and cats even though it’s completely preventable. Teaching your pet to accept a regular dental regimen early in life is by far the easiest way to keep plaque at bay.
Starting a pet dental routine now can save on future veterinary bills. With your attention to a good health routine, your dog can enjoy healthy gums, fresh breath, and fewer visits to the veterinarian.
We recommend that pet owners follow five basic steps:
- Understand your pet’s oral health needs. Talk with your veterinarian. At your pet’s next annual checkup ask your veterinarian about preventative care for your pet’s teeth.
- Develop, then follow, a daily oral health routine with your pet. Gracie’s daily routine starts before she’s tucked into bed for the night. She is calm and relaxed during this time, which makes for the perfect opportunity to tend to her oral care needs.
- The best way to brush your dog’s teeth is to use a brush or wrap your finger in gauze and hold it at a 45-degree angle to the teeth. When we first introduced Gracie to home dental care, our veterinarian recommended we focus on the teeth located inside the cheek areas first.
- Bring a variety to brushing. We generally brush Gracie’s teeth daily, but on the days when we may not have the time to brush, we still always make sure we use an alternative dental option such as pet dental wipes or a pet dental spray.
- Feed your pet a balanced diet and consider safe and appropriate chew toys. Although not all safe products have Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approval, using products with the VOHC seal of acceptance is recommended as these products have successfully met pre-set requirements for veterinary dental efficacy and safety.
Did you know that 70-85% of pets over the age of 2 have some form of dental disease? Here are some signs that your pet may have dental disease:
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Loose teeth
- Red, inflamed gums
- Swollen mouth, jaws, or gums
- Doesn’t play with chew toys as often
- Pain when eating
Our senior cat Luke recently had four teeth removed because he was suffering from bad breath, inflamed gums and pain when eating. It is important to have your pet checked for dental disease, as this disease can have major impacts on your pet’s organs, including the heart, liver, and kidneys.
While February is National Pet Dental Month, dental health should be a daily ritual for pet owners all year long. Help us spread the word about the importance of pet dental care. Send us a photo of your dog showing off their pearly whites! Email us at email@example.com.