Bad Dental Health Bites!
Did you know that, by age three, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show some evidence of periodontal disease? And that’s no laughing matter. Over time, tooth decay, gingivitis, and plaque and tartar build-up can lead to heart, liver, and kidney problems, drastically impacting your best friend’s longevity and quality of life.
In honor of National Dental Health Month, we’re offering advice for keeping your pet smiling for years to come.
In addition to scheduling regular dental exams and cleanings with your Roseway vet, good pet dental hygiene starts the same way human dental hygiene does – with the establishment of a regular brushing routine. If you’re intimidated by the prospect of brushing your pet’s teeth, you’re not alone.
Here are a few easy tips to help brushing your pet’s teeth go more smoothly!
Get comfortable. Instead of standing over your dog, trying kneeling or sitting in front of him or her. Practice lifting your pet’s lip to see the teeth and reward with praise.
Use brushes (and especially paste!) made for pets Human toothpaste contains ingredients that may hurt your pet’s stomach. Finger brushes work well for cats and small- and medium-sized dogs: you’ll need a larger brush with a handle for large dogs.
Go slow at first. Start with rubbing your pet’s gums and teeth with your finger to see how well they tolerate it. Before using the brush, let them lick some of the toothpaste off of your finger or the brush.
Be gentle. Finish with the bottom front teeth. Focus on the outside of the teeth—the surface facing the cheek is the most prone to plaque and tartar buildup.
Be patient. Getting used to brushing might take several sessions. Your pet’s gums may bleed a little at first, but it’s only an emergency if it doesn’t stop.
You might also consider giving your pet dental chews between brushings. Specially formulated treats like Dental Chewz from Purina, Gentle Snackers from Purina, and Feline Greenies – which we stock both in our onsite pharmacy and online store – can go a long way toward controlling tartar and plaque buildup and pets love the taste, too! Whatever you choose, be sure to avoid hard bones that can break your pet’s teeth or get stuck in the digestive tract.