Pets can be prone to dental problems just like we can, and as your furbaby’s owner, you are responsible for ensuring that her oral hygiene and health is as good as it possibly can be. Failing to take proper steps to look after her dental health could see her suffering from unpleasant symptoms including bad breath, dental pain and swollen, bleeding gums. She could also be at risk of developing serious problems including abscesses, broken teeth and dental disease, the latter which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, pet diabetes and even some types of cancer.
Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do protect your pet’s teeth and keep oral health problems at bay. Here are our top tips for caring for your precious pet’s dental health at home.
Brush your pet’s teeth
In case you didn’t know, regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the best way that you can take care of her oral health from the comfort of your own home. It is also far less difficult and time consuming than most people expect. By choosing to brush her teeth regularly, you can remove food debris and bacteria before it can cause plaque to develop, and this could protect your furbaby from dental disease and a range of other health problems.
Use the right equipment for brushing her teeth
As you might anticipate, there are two items that you need to have to be able to brush your pet’s teeth. These are a toothbrush and some toothpaste. You can buy pet toothbrushes from most pet and some grocery stores, although in the case of dogs, a small, round-headed human toothbrush with soft bristles would also work just fine. A feline toothbrush tends to be better for cats since their mouths and teeth are so small.
When it comes to choosing a toothpaste be sure to select a variety suited to your pet. Never use human toothpaste since this it contains ingredients such as xylitol which are poisonous to animals.
Make time to brush her teeth at least once a week
Most veterinarians and pet dentists state that ideally you should be brushing your pet’s teeth every day for the best results. However, many owners struggle to fit daily brushing into their routine. If you can take other positive steps towards caring for her teeth at home, brushing at least once a week should be sufficient.
Offer her dental treats
There are lots of different dental treats on the market and this makes it easy to find one that your furbaby will enjoy. Most are formulated with special ingredients that are designed to improve your pet’s oral health. Try and choose a treat that is also abrasive as these can create a cleaning action against your pet’s teeth and help to remove plaque and tartar.
Encourage her to use chew toys
One of the reasons that dentists advocate the use of sugar-free chewing gum is because chewing stimulates our body to produce more saliva, and saliva both neutralizes acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth when it comes into contact with sugars you eat and helps to wash way food debris. The same principle applies to your pet. Whilst you will not want her chewing just anything she comes across, encouraging her to use abrasive chew toys can benefit her dental health.
Ensure she drinks plenty of water
Water is essential if your furbaby is to remain hydrated. However, drinking with meals can also help to remove food particles that may get stuck between her teeth or in other parts of her mouth, before they can cause damage to her dental health.
Choose the right food products
There are countless types of pet food available and trying to select the best one of your furbaby can prove to be a difficult process if you don’t know what you are looking for. Make sure you opt for pet food that is packed full of protein and not bulked out with soya and grains as these aren’t good for your pet’s dental health. Better still, look for a pet food that has been approved by the VOHC – the Veterinary Oral Health Council. These products have been proven to contain ingredients that are beneficial for your pet’s teeth and oral wellbeing.
If you would like more advice or support on the best ways to care for your pet’s dental health at home, please don’t hesitate to give our experienced pet dentistry team a call. They would be delighted to answer your questions or arrange an appointment for you to visit our offices.