February is National Pet Dental Health Month
How Can You Improve Your Pet’s Dental Health?
We all dread brushing our pet’s teeth. It can be a stressful experience for both you and your furry friend, but poor dental hygiene can cause many serious health issues including the heart, liver, and kidney disease; therefore, it is vital to take all possible steps to improve your pet’s overall dental health.
Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in cats and dogs even though it’s completely preventable.
To prevent this condition by improving your pet’s dental health, here are steps you can slowly introduce into your pet’s routine:
1. Brushing Teeth
- Choose a brush that is double-headed with the brushes at a 45-degree angle to clean below the gum line.
- Try to brush after your pet has had a lot of exercise so he/she is calmer.
- Start slowly and quit if your pet gets agitated. You may not be able to brush the whole mouth at the beginning – increase the time every day until your pet is more comfortable.
- Start the brushing process when your pet is young.
2. Pick the Right Toothpaste
- Do not use human toothpaste on any animal. Most toothpastes contain fluoride which is poisonous to dogs. There are special toothpastes formulated just for dogs and cats and are available at your vet or local pet store.
3. Food is Key
- Crunchy, dry food is better for your pet’s teeth than soft food which sticks to the teeth more often resulting in decay.
- For dogs, you can buy synthetic bones and chew toys specially designed to strengthen your gums and teeth. Avoid bones and toys that have sharp ends or are too hard and can cause broken teeth.
4. Have an Annual Dental Checkup
- Make sure to have your veterinarian examine your pet’s teeth and gums at least once a year to check for early signs of a problem.