Do’s and Don’ts of At-Home Dental Care for Four Pets

A longed haired dachshund holding a toothbrush in its mouth

Oral health isn’t just important for the human members of your family. Dogs and cats also reap huge benefits from owners spending a little time and effort on looking after their pet’s teeth, which they rely on not just for eating, but also for helping them to pick up and carry objects and defend themselves if they are ever threatened. Healthy teeth are also important for your pet’s overall wellbeing. This is because, just like in humans, poor oral hygiene in animals has been linked to the development of a progressive inflammatory condition called periodontal disease which is a contributing factor in diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and oral cancer.

Taking care of your pet’s dental health should be a priority for any responsible owner. To help ensure that you are doing everything that you can to keep your pet’s teeth and oral health in the best possible condition, here’s a few of the key do’s and don’ts of at-home pet dental care.

DO… create an oral hygiene routine for your pet. It may initially seem impossible to clean your pet’s teeth at least once each day, but with a little practice, most owners manage to incorporate proper brushing into their daily routine with ease.

DO… brush your pet’s teeth just like you would your own. Brushing is the very best way to remove plaque from your pet’s teeth before it can cause problems such as decay and periodontal disease. If you aren’t sure of the best technique to use, ask your veterinarian for a demonstration.

DON’T… use human toothpaste. It contains ingredients that are highly toxic to animals and that could make your pet potentially fatally sick. Choose veterinary-approved toothpaste instead. We recommend C.E.T Enzymatic Toothpaste which is specially formulated for pets and comes in a range of delicious flavors.

DON’T… clean the inside faces of your pet’s teeth. Animals find this difficult to tolerate and it is pretty unnecessary since their tongue will remove much of the plaque from this area anyway. Your pet’s natural saliva will also help to neutralize any acids and wash away bacteria from the inner faces of the teeth.

DO… take your pet to get their teeth professionally cleaned at least once each year. This is done under a general anesthetic so that your pet is completely still and not at risk of moving and being injured by any of the sharp instruments used in a professional dental clean. Annual professional cleans are one of the best ways to ensure that your pet’s teeth are as clean and healthy as possible.

DON’T… be tempted to let your canine pal chew on cow hooves or bones as these are much too hard and could actually end up damaging your pet’s teeth. If they break up into small pieces, they could also put your pet at risk of choking.

If you would like more do’s and don’ts relating to at-home dental care for your pet, please don’t hesitate to contact our expert veterinary team who will be delighted to help.