Even for routine checkups, most of us dread visiting our dentist. Keeping your mouth open for an uncomfortably long amount of time while your dentist pokes at your gums and teeth with a torture-looking device is never fun. Unsurprisingly, your pet feels the same way. Do your little furry friend a favor and take care of his/her pearly whites. Our pets are not prone to cavities but can still develop a host of other problems.
Serious dental issues may lead to infectious diseases that can affect your pet’s heart, liver and kidney. Tartar, plaque buildup and bad breath are just a few signs to watch out for in your pet’s daily dental routine. Keep your pet happy and healthy with the following tips.
One of the easiest ways to monitor your pet’s dental health is to smell their breath. If your pet is the type to express love through licks and kisses every time you walk through the door, then this is fairly easy to do. It won’t smell like a bed of roses, but your pet’s breath shouldn’t smell rancid or foul either. If you detect any change in your pet’s fresh breath, it’s a clue that something may be wrong.
Proper Brushing Techniques
Just like humans, dogs and cats require special brushing techniques to maintain their pearly whites. Invest in a good brushing kit that includes flavored toothpaste – never use human toothpaste – as well as a brush of appropriate size or a finger brush. At a 45-degree angle, gently brush in a circular motion one side at a time.
If your pet is more comfortable with simply straight strokes, start with the back teeth while gently lifting the lips. Their tongue and leftover toothpaste can take care of the rest. The goal is to disturb and remove any bacterial formations on the surface of their teeth to prevent tartar and plaque buildup.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is generally less stressful than other grooming techniques like nail trimming and should be done more often. Get into the habit of brushing your pet’s teeth at least three times a week for optimal results.
Chew Toys and Treats
For those of us with busy-bee schedules, dental chews and treats are a godsend. On the days when you can’t get to brushing your pet’s teeth, treats and chew toys made specifically for deep cleaning your pet’s mouth are ideal. Dental chews are awesome twofers; they make your pup or kitty happy while keeping them healthy.
Your pet’s diet can go a long way in preventing dental decay. Keeping your pet on a dry food diet versus soft food is beneficial for their oral health. Dry food can decrease the formation of plaque and tartar. Water additives and daily dental treats will also boost their dental health.
Seeking a Veterinarian
Routine upkeep of your pet’s dental health could be enough to prevent most dental-related problems. It’s best to peek inside your furry friend’s mouth at least once a week to pick up on any changes. If you notice any of the following changes in your pet’s mouth, we suggest scheduling an appointment with your local veterinarian:
- Bad breath
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Pawing at the face or mouth, discomfort
- Discoloration, broken or misaligned teeth
- Excessive tartar along gum line
- Excessive drooling
- Growths along the walls of the mouth
- Change in eating or chewing
- Depression symptoms
Dental care always feels like too much work to maintain, but it can save you time and money in the long run. A professional should evaluate your pet’s dental health every six to 12 months. As one of the Valley Animal Hospital’s top concerns, our oral pet health services are comprehensive and thorough.
Our veterinarians have provided state-of-the-art dentistry services for over 20 years by using the most technologically advanced tools in the industry. If you are concerned about your pet’s dental health or simply require a checkup, call us at 956-787-2709 to schedule an appointment.