Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and is often overlooked by owners.
It is very important to keep your pet’s mouth in good condition as it can lead to other health problems. A health check once a year is important to examine your pet’s teeth and gums so any problems can be detected at an early stage. If the tartar buildup is bad enough, your pet will need anesthesia and dental scaling.
Some pet shops offer anesthesia-free dental scaling, but this is not recommended because they are not able to clean beneath the gum-line to prevent periodontal disease, and they cannot examine beneath the gum-line to identify problems before they become painful and expensive to treat.
Although dogs do not get cavities as easily as humans, they still develop problems like tartar, plaque and gingivitis. With good dental care, you can improve your pet’s health and quality of life. The most effective thing you can do to help your pet is by regularly brushing their teeth. Daily brushing is best but it’s not always possible so just try your best to do it as often as possible.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Start when your pet is a puppy or kitten so they can get used to it at an early age
- Pick a time when your pet is calmer so they are more likely to sit still
- Use a toothbrush designed for pets. There are many types available at pet shops (brushes, sponges, pads) so you can try different ones to find one which is best suited for you and your pet.
- Never use regular human toothpaste for your pet as they may include ingredients that can be toxic to your pet! There are many pet toothpastes available in pet stores.
- Start slowly and increase the time every day
- Be patient with your pet
Other things you can do to improve dental health include:
- Giving your pet dry kibble is better than soft food. Soft food is more likely to stick to the teeth or get stuck between the cracks and cause decay. Dry food such as Hill’s t/d can decrease plaque and calculus build up.
- There are synthetic bones and chew toys that provide mechanical removal of plaque such as Plaque Attacker dental toys, rope toys or rawhide chips. Make sure you do not give your pet hard objects to chew on because they can cause broken teeth.
- Dental treats such as Greenies dental chews or Virbac dental chews are also designed to help control plaque and tartar buildup. However, toys and chews alone should not be thought of as a replacement for brushing teeth. They should be used in conjunction.
Credit : Dr. Giordanna Lau