At Nor Cal Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital, we understand the importance of the pets in our lives, particularly knowing that a pet is a wonderful member of a family. While pets offer companionship, validation, purpose, excitement, tricks and assistance, when it comes to home dental care, this is a time for you to give back to your pet what he or she needs most: dental hygiene. Dental hygiene can help eliminate breath issues and avoid other, more serious, health problems.
Nor Cal Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital is here to help, beginning with these latest tips for easy and complete dental hygiene practices:
Twice-daily teeth brushing—for maximum results, teeth brushing should be done twice a day. It is best to develop teeth brushing habits while your pet is still young because acceptance of this practice is easier. If your pet is resistant to a toothbrush, try a finger toothbrush that will clean the teeth in a more subtle way. If your pet becomes unusually uncomfortable and reactive while brushing his or her teeth, make sure to visit your veterinarian to see what issues may have arisen.
Yearly dental exams—this is the recommendation, however, if your pet shows signs of dental distress, be sure to take your pet in.
Purchase high quality food—foods that include a scrub that helps clean their teeth while they are chewing and/or foods that include an additive that prevents plaque from developing.
Toys and chews—toys and rawhide chews help stimulate saliva, which helps prevent plaque. Toys and chews also help work the gums to strengthen them. The best toys and chews are those that are soft, like a rubber ball or soft rawhide.
The most common dental issue in a pet is periodontal disease. This usually begins to present itself at about age three. Periodontal disease can worsen if it is not resolved, which is why early detection is key. Some of the signs of periodontal disease are:
- Any bleeding from the moth
- Pain in or around the mouth
- Any signs of swelling
- Refusal to eat or reduced appetite
- Discolored teeth
- Broken on loose teeth
- Any other abnormalities, including drooling
- Unresolved bad breath
- Making noises while eating
- Struggles to eat food
Developing a home dental care program, at an early age, helps prevent the costs associated with major disease-related problems, including heart disease, liver and/or kidney problems.
You can help your pet today, by setting up a regular dental hygiene program, and then sticking to it.