Importance of Pet Dental Health
February is Pet Dental Health Awareness Month. This is an important time to learn dental health tips for your furry loved ones!
Imagine not brushing your teeth, ever in your life. This would be a sure way to cause you some issues down the road with cavities and eventually dental and gum disease issues. That is why it is important to show care to your pet’s teeth and dental health.
You should have your pet’s teeth checked at least once a year by a veterinarian, when you take them in for their check up. That way they can look out for early signs of dental disease. Catching periodontal disease in it’s early stage is important to start treatment on, otherwise this can cause pain and teeth problems in pets.
It is important not to ignore things like bad breath, as this can be a sign of underlying problems. Make sure to get their mouth looked at if you notice any of the following:
- Broken/loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Build up of tartar or plaque
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Abnormal drooling
- Swelling of the mouth or pain in the mouth
- Refusal to eat
- Discolored teeth
Brushing your Pet’s Teeth
It is important to try to brush your pet’s teeth every day if possible, but this can be difficult, especially in cats. If you try working with your pet frequently on this, or early in their life if possible, it can help them get adjusted to having a toothbrush near and in their mouth.
Trying to brush them at least a few times every week is crucial for removal of plaque. If plaque is not removed, this hardens to tartar which can set in below the gum line that can cause infection, inflammation and damage.
When looking for supplies make sure to buy:
- A tooth brush or brush finger cover – whatever your preference is. You can find these at pet supply stores and choose based on your liking.
- Pet safe toothpaste. Make sure to NEVER use human toothpaste on pets as this can contain xylitol and other ingredients that can make your pet sick.
Alternatives to Brushing
Some alternatives to brushing your pets teeth include the use of dental treats. Although this is not as effective nor should it be a replacement, it can help to keep the cleaning under control. Check with your veterinarian to see dental treat recommendations.
Dental Procedures and Cleanings
Besides doing at home treatment and preventive care, it is also important to schedule a professional dental cleaning with your veterinarian. This will include a through examination, cleaning and polishing of the teeth all done while your pet is under anesthesia. The anesthesia is used to make dental cleanings less stressful and painful for your pet. This prevents them from wiggling around too much on the table and reduces the risk of injuries. It makes it easier for them to also get things like x-rays images if necessary.
Taking these steps can save your pet from painful infections and diseases down the road, and help them stay their happiest and healthiest self. This month and every month, make a step to prioritize your pet’s dental health. For more information on pet health tips, please visit our Pet Health section on the blog.