Pet Dental Health Tips

by | General Pet Care |

February is Pet Dental Health Month! Pets need clean gums and teeth just like humans do. Read our top five tips to keep your pet’s smile sparkling and clean all year round.

Oral care is an important part of maintaining the overall health of your dog or cat. Bacteria and plaque can harden on your pet’s teeth to form tartar, which can result in gingivitis, receding gums, pain and tooth loss. Dental problems not only affect your pet’s teeth; if left untreated dental infections can spread to the heart, kidneys and other vital organs.

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Pet Dental Tips.
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Regular Brushing

Ease regular brushing into your daily pet care regime. Brushing is the best way to prevent tartar build-up and gum disease. The Ontario SPCA recommends brushing three to four times a week.

Pets can wriggle and squirm when it comes to having their teeth cleaned, so timing is key: scheduling tooth brushing after physical activity can make the process easier. Cats and dogs will usually tolerate having their teeth cleaned if the process is introduced gently and gradually.

Use the Right Tools

Use a toothbrush and toothpaste specially designed for pets, or you may prefer to use either a finger brush or clean gauze wrapped around your finger. There are also a number of products that promote oral health in pets, including gels, rinses, teeth-cleaning kibble or textured chew toys. Make sure to never use human toothpastes or rinses for your pet.

Weekly Check

You should check your pet’s mouth once a week to make sure gums are pink, not white or red, and teeth are clean without signs of brownish tartar. There are other clues that may indicate possible mouth problems, like exceptionally bad breath, excessive drinking or urinating, loss of appetite, or vomiting. Talk to your veterinarian or veterinary hospital staff if you suspect any mouth problems or if you have any questions about how to brush your pet’s teeth, selecting the right products, or for tips on how to keep your pet’s teeth clean.

Schedule Regular Checkups with your Vet

During regular visits to the vet, your pet’s teeth are examined and recommendations will be made regarding their dental health and needs. Sometimes pets will periodically require professional scaling and examination of their teeth under general anesthesia.

Avoid Too Many Treats

Just like humans, too many treats are bad for pets. Pets should never be given candy of any kind. Like chocolate, sorbitol-sweetened candy is toxic to dogs. According to Canadian Living, even healthy treats from the vet clinic should comprise no more than 10 per cent of your pet’s diet.

Dental disease in pets is generally slow to develop and often preventable. By adding regular oral care into your daily pet care regime, you can easily avoid any future discomfort for your pet as well as a hefty dental cleaning bill in the future.