It’s National Pet Month, and this tip focuses on your pet’s dental health. Just like your own teeth, your pet’s teeth need careful attention. Periodontal or gum disease caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar has become a major problem in cats and dogs. They’re susceptible to the same types of illnesses and diseases that stem from decayed teeth in humans if their teeth aren’t properly cleaned.
Here’s an easy-to-follow set of maintenance tips to keep your pet healthier:
Did you know that veterinarians offer dental cleanings for both cats and dogs? As silly as it sounds, a vet dental cleaning is one of the easiest and most effective ways to ensure your pet maintains healthy teeth and gums. The best part about it is that you don’t have to do it. If you’ve ever tried brushing a cat’s teeth, you know what I mean; it’s near impossible—without getting maimed. I know. I have two dogs and two cats. The dogs will tolerate it. The cat’s absolutely will not. So, it’s best you just take them to their vet to have it done. It’s a pretty quick and easy procedure, and your vet will monitor their recovery from the anesthetic.
Feeding your pet dry food helps to prevent accumulation of plaque and tartar. The coarsely-textured kibbles actually rub the plaque right off as they chew the food.
Brush Their Teeth
Yep, you heard that right, and this mainly applies to your dog (for cat’s, see tip above). All you need is a toothbrush and some toothpaste. There are now many toothpastes and brushes made specifically for pets. Any pet supply store will carry them, or you can ask your vet for advice on what’s best for your pet.
It’s also important to keep it as fun as possible. There is a lot of advice out there on ways to brush, but the best advice is to talk to your vet to learn what works. You’ll definitely want your dog to become comfortable and familiar with the process.
Your dog will love this last tip. Chew treats, rawhide, and meat-protein snacks help to remove plaque and tartar. And, they’re tasty. It’s a win-win.
You’ll also want to watch out for wood and hard materials like bones or rocks. They can wear down, break or damage teeth and gums. Even the harmless throwing stick isn’t advised.
Our pets our part of our families, we love them, and their health is important too for long, healthy, and happy lives. Show them you care by giving them dental health!