It is National Pet Dental Health Month. You know what that means? It means we are paying extra special attention to our pet’s teeth this month and focusing on tips and tricks from the experts on how to care for, and improve our pet’s pearly whites.
Our expert veterinarian, Dr. Kristen Andrews, offers some detailed tips for your furry family members’ oral health.
Here are five tips to help you get your pup’s pearly whites shining bright—straight from the vet!
5 Dental Health Tips For Dogs From the Vet
It’s Never Too Early to Start a Dental Care Program For Your Pet
Our pets start to lose their puppy teeth around 4 months of age so it’s important to start a dental care program early for them. Tooth brushing every day is the best thing you can do to take care of your pet’s teeth. You can even teach an older pet to allow you to brush their teeth with some patience and practice.
To get your precious dog used to oral care, try and set aside a time each day to work with your pet. Start first by getting them comfortable with you touching the outside of their mouth. Talk to them and give them positive praise when they allow you to touch their mouth area. Have a favorite dental treat to reward them with at the end of each session. Once they are comfortable with you handling the outside of their mouth, start lifting their lips gently and touching the teeth in the front and along the sides with your finger. Again, positive praise and reward their good behavior.
When they become comfortable with several sessions of this, you can start offering them pet safe toothpaste on your finger and lift the lip and gently rub it over the teeth and gums. You can even wrap your index finger in gauze and apply toothpaste to this and start rubbing it on the teeth and gums. Again, don’t be discouraged if they resist at first, be sure to encourage them and reward them when they do good. Slowly but surely, you can work up to using a finger brush or toothbrush to brush their teeth daily.
Brush Pet’s Teeth the Right Way
When it comes to brushing your Fido’s teeth, focus on the outside of the teeth rather than on the inner surfaces—you don’t need to open their mouth to brush the teeth as their tongue helps to clean the inner surfaces. Focus on the outer surfaces along the sides and then in the front. Again, always remember to offer your pet praise, give them a rewarding and healthy dental treat, and give them lots of love to help make tooth brushing a positive event for them each day!
Dental Treats and Healthy Dental Diets Help Reduce Plaque and Tartar Build Up in Pets
Dental treats, like Minties Treats, work in a scraping and scrubbing fashion to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup as your pet chews on their treat. Minties also contain mint, fennel, chlorophyll, and parsley to help freshen the breath, along with dill and fennel to help control bacterial growth. Providing a combination of tooth brushing, dental diets, and dental treats provide a well-rounded approach to home dental care!
Examine Your Pet’s Mouth Regularly
It sounds simple but simply looking in their mouth can help you detect early signs of oral disease. Flip your pet’s lip weekly to look for problems such as reddened gums, yellow or brown tartar collecting on the teeth, loose teeth (especially in the front of the mouth), abnormal swellings or growths, excessive drooling, or just smelling bad breath. These are all signs that your pet may have oral disease and should be addressed by your veterinarian as soon as you notice them. In addition, your pet should have a good oral examination performed by your veterinarian at least every 6 months. So if it has been a while since your pet had a vet examination, call your vet today to schedule an appointment.
Budget and Save for Your Pet’s Dental Care and Make Cleaning Part of Their Healthcare
By waiting on proper veterinary dental care, your pet’s teeth can worsen, resulting in pain, infection, suffering, tooth decay, and tooth loss. It can also potentially lead to other health problems for your pet. Health insurance can be a great investment for helping to take care of your pet’s teeth. Be sure to look for plans that do offer dental coverage. Ask your veterinarian what payment options they may offer. Many offer credit card options to pay for dental procedures for your pet.
Even though it is National Pet Dental Health month, it is important to keep your dog’s oral health a priority throughout the year. Remember, you can add years to your pet’s life just through proper dental care! That means more years of unconditional love from your furry friend!