Last month was National Pet Dental Health Month – and there’s good reason for raising awareness for your pet’s dental health, as periodontal disease is emerging as one of the most common issues in dogs and cats. What’s more is that periodontal disease can have some dire health consequences, not just in terms of swollen gums and poor breath, but it can be damaging to the internal organs if the condition isn’t treated properly. Thankfully, you can have a big hand in preventing this disease from occurring and nipping it in the bud if you notice any issues.
- Brush his teeth: Easier said than done, especially when it comes to dogs – we get that. But you can actually train your dog to have its teeth brushed. Start by massaging his lips for several seconds for a couple of weeks, increasing massage time a little more each day. After he gets used to that, move on to massaging the teeth and gums. The next step is to buy a dog-appropriate toothpaste (never use human toothpaste on your dog) and get him used to the taste. After he’s acclimated, get a special toothbrush for dogs, and begin to gently brush his teeth. Do this occasionally to remove tartar and plaque from your dog’s teeth, thereby reducing the risk of oral disease. Other animals, like cats, can also be trained to accept a tooth brushing, similar to the manner that dogs are trained.
- Diet: The saying “you are what you eat” is true for dogs and cats, too. So be sure to talk to your vet about what type of food is best for your pet, as certain formulas of dry food actually work to slow the formation of plaque and tartar. Additionally, it’s always best to avoid giving your pets table scraps.
- Chew toys: Chew toys don’t just allow your dog or cat to burn some energy and stay occupied, but the right chew toys can also work to massage the gums and remove plaque and tartar. Dental chews, toxin-free rawhides, nylon toys and rubber toys often work best for this purpose.
Failure to keep tabs on your pet’s oral health can eventually lead to the need to fix oral issues including tooth extraction. Chronic dental disease can lead to live, kidney, or heart disease, so time is not your friend.
For more information on the importance of proper oral care for your pets, contact us today.