Maintaining Your Pet's Pearly Whites: A Guide to Pet Dental Health Month
February is Pet Dental Health Month, a time to focus on the importance of keeping your furry friend's teeth clean and healthy. Just like humans, pets need regular dental care to prevent tartar buildup, bad breath, and gum disease.
Why is dental health important for pets?
Dental disease is one of the most common health problems in pets, affecting up to 80% of dogs and cats over the age of 3. If left untreated, dental disease can lead to pain, infection, and even tooth loss. It can also affect your pet's overall health, as bacteria from the mouth can travel to other organs and cause serious problems.
How to clean your pet's teeth
There are a number of ways to clean your pet's teeth, including:
Brushing & Dental Wipes: Brushing is the best way to clean your pet's teeth, but it can be difficult to get some pets to cooperate. Use a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste, and start by gently brushing a few teeth at a time. We offer two sizes from Tropiclean toothbrushes here. Dental wipes are an alternative to brushing that can help remove dome of the biofilm that can adhere to their teeth. Check out these dental wipes from Skout's Honor here.
Dental chews and treats: These can help to remove plaque and tartar from your pet's teeth as they chew. Look for chews that are VOHC-approved, which means they have been tested and verified to be effective in reducing plaque and tartar. We offer several varieties of dental chews and treats from Greenies for your cat & Whimzees for your dog and willl soon be offering some brand new dental treats from Stella & Chewy's. For something completely natural we'd recommend raw frozen marrow bones from Primal or Cow Ears from Barkworthies.
Water additives: Additives, such as these from Skout's Honor and Tropiclean can help to freshen your pet's breath and reduce plaque buildup. However, they should not be used as a substitute for brushing or dental chews.
- Food Topper: Proden PlaqueOff Powder is a unique solution in that is does not rely on topical application or friction. This product is sprinkled on the food and ingested where it works systemically. The natural compound in the plaque off powder comes out through the saliva and works to soften hard tartar that forms on the teeth and gums.
Professional cleanings: Just like humans, pets need professional dental cleanings under anesthesia every 1-2 years. This is especially important for pets with dental disease.
Tips for getting your pet to tolerate teeth cleaning
- Start early: It's easier to get your pet used to teeth cleaning when they're young.
- Make it a positive experience: Use praise, treats, and patience.
- Go slow: Start by letting your pet get used to having their mouth touched, then gradually introduce the toothbrush or dental chew.
- Be consistent: Brush your pet's teeth or give them a dental chew at least a few times a week.
Additional tips for maintaining your pet's dental health
- Feed your pet a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help to reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
- Schedule regular veterinary checkups: Your veterinarian can check your pet's teeth for signs of dental disease and recommend the best course of treatment.
By following these tips, you can help your pet maintain good dental health and avoid the problems associated with dental disease.
In addition to the tips above, here are some other things to keep in mind:
- Water additives can be a helpful addition to your pet's dental care routine, but they should not be used as a substitute for brushing or dental chews.
- If you're having trouble getting your pet to tolerate teeth cleaning, talk to your veterinarian. They may be able to offer some tips or recommend a professional teeth cleaning.
With a little effort, you can help your pet maintain good dental health and live a long, healthy life.