Of course cats and dogs do not eat sweets, or at least they shouldn’t, but even with the perfect diet they have similar dental issues as humans. Plaque and tartar can build up in their mouths too and eventually lead to gingivitis and gum disease (sounds familiar doesn’t it).
Do’s and Don’ts of Teeth Brushing
Veterinarians recommend professional teeth cleaning and regular brushings for your dog or cat. If you have an older animal, start out with a teeth cleaning. Tartar cannot be removed with a toothbrush, so a professional cleaning will remove the old tartar. If you have a puppy or kitten, you can establish a teeth brushing routine right away.
Only use toothpaste made for dogs and cats. Human toothpaste will upset their stomachs. Allow your pet to try the toothpaste as if it is a treat. The next day rub some toothpaste on your pet’s gums. This gets them to associate the flavor of the toothpaste with you touching their teeth and gums. It is recommended that you perform the teeth brushing ritual before an enjoyable activity, like a walk or playtime. Hopefully, your pet will begin to associate oral hygiene with something pleasurable.
A soft human toothbrush is recommended for brushing your pet’s teeth. There are special toothbrushes you can wear on your finger for more controlled brushing. If you are uncomfortable sticking your finger in your pets mouth, try the soft tooth brush. Do not continue trying to brush your pet’s teeth if you feel that your pet will bite you. Bites from dogs and cats are serious and can bring on severe complications that are a risk to your digits and limbs which is why you may want to have your Aurora animal hospital take care of it.
Remember, when brushing your cat or dog’s teeth, the most plaque build up is on the back teeth. When you start the brushing regime, you should only do a small section each day. Allow your pet to acclimate to the activity. Increase the amount of teeth being brushed each time, or as much as you think is comfortable for your pet. Use circular motions around the gums and up and down motions on the teeth, just as you do with your own teeth. It is recommended that you brush everyday, but if your pet is uncooperative on a daily basis, adapt to a routine that they are comfortable with. Something is better than nothing when it comes to oral hygiene and pets.
If your pet isn’t cooperative with teeth brushing, remember semi-yearly professional cleanings are important. Brushing will cut down on the amount of dental care your cat or dog will need, but your pet will occasionally need a professional.
There are other things you can utilize to keep your pets teeth clean. There are chew toys, crunchy snacks, and even mouthwashes specifically made to reduce plaque. Hills Prescription Diet t/d (tarter diet) is designed to fight tarter buildup. It comes in small bites for smaller dogs, original bites for medium to larger dogs and a feline formula. Speak with your veterinarian to find out if your pet needs to be on prescription dog food or if using it as a teeth cleaning snack is appropriate.
If left untreated, teeth can become infected. As anyone knows, a toothache is a painful experience that does not go away on its own. Your special friend cannot tell you they need to go to the Aurora veterinarian.
Regular check-ups and good oral hygiene make for a happier pet and a better quality of life. February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Schedule an appointment for a teeth cleaning today.