Along with being National Children’s Dental Health Month, February is also National Pet Dental Health Month. Therefore, it’s a good time for you to review some of the basics on how to take care of your pet‘s teeth. While many caring dog, cat, rabbit, and other pet owners will take the time to make sure their furry family members are getting the best possible treatment in terms of exercise and nutrition, they may not realize how important it is to care for their teeth – or how to do so properly.
Your pet‘s teeth are not that different from your own, and your pet may develop the same issues as humans if their teeth aren’t treated with care.
“Untreated plaque and tartar will eventually lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease in the mouth,” Rod Van Horn, D.V.M., a member of the American Veterinary Dental Society, told The Taos News. “And those same bacteria could enter the blood stream, leading to heart disease or filter through the kidneys and liver.”
Here are a few basic tips to keep your pet’s dental health in shape:
Head to the Vet – WebMD states that the first step toward ensuring healthy teeth is to take your pet to a veterinarian for regular checkups. Not only can they give teeth-cleanings, but your vet will also be able to give you the best advice on at-home pet dental care. Your pet should go to the vet at least once a year, and twice a year if your pet is a senior.
Brush Their Teeth – Just like you, pets need to brush their teeth. Not all of our pets are as self-sufficient as Snoopy, so you‘ll have to do it for them. If you go to any pet supplies store, you’re likely to find toothbrushes and toothpaste designed for your dog or cat. However, do not attempt to share your own toothpaste with your pets. While traditional toothpastes are not meant to be swallowed, toothpaste made for pets will clean their chompers and is safe to swallow.
Check Your Pet’s Breath – It’s no secret that most pets don’t possess mentos-fresh breath. However, breath that is particularly strong could be a sign of gum disease. Check to make sure that your pet’s breath has a consistent odor before and after brushing, and in between vet checkups.
Watch Your Pet’s Diet – Similarly to your own teeth, animals’ teeth can break if you give them ice cubes, leftover chicken or steak bones, and other hard foods or items. Try sticking with store-bones, and check with your veterinarian what other treats are best for your pets.
What other ways do you ensure good dental hygiene for your furry friends? Tell us in the comments below!