February is here and with it, National Pet Dental Health Month! Now is the time to evaluate your pets and decide what dental care products will work best for each of them.
Brushing is the best option, but realistically, many pet parents don’t do this faithfully. Still, even brushing two or three times a week is better than not at all. Be sure to use a toothbrush that is the proper size for your pet. Puppies, small dogs, and cats do best with tiny brushes or finger brushes. A C.E.T dual-ended toothbrush can work for both your dog and your cat!
Finger brushes fit over your fingertip and have soft rubber bumps to help clean teeth. Many pets prefer these over a traditional toothbrush. If even a finger brush bothers your pet, you can try a small piece of gauze wrapped around your fingertip.
Stick to pet toothpaste meant for pets, which often come in pet-friendly flavors like poultry. In addition, human toothpaste is designed to spit out. Your pet doesn’t know better than to simply swallow toothpaste, so it’s best to use one that’s pet safe.
For many people, doing anything inside their pet’s mouth on a regular basis is simply never going to happen. Fortunately, all is not lost: chewing on proper dental chew can reduce plaque by up to 69%. This may not be as good as brushing but it certainly beats doing nothing. There are many products available for both dogs and cats. How often does a pet need to chew? One study using the Pedigree Dentabone showed excellent results but dogs were provided with a chew bone six days a week. Many dogs are not as interested in chewing.
Not all chews are alike. Chewing provides abrasion against the tooth removing plaque and tartar. Some chews and biscuits include the ingredient hexametaphosphate, which prevents the mineralization of plaque into tartar. (In one study, two such biscuits daily removed 46% of tartar in time.)
At Eastern Animal Hospital your pet’s teeth will be assessed by a veterinarian during every physical exam. The doctor may recommend dental cleaning which could also include dental X-rays and extractions based on the severity of your pet’s mouth. Keep in mind starting early with dental cleanings can not only prevent major oral surgery in the future it also means healthier pets overall. A healthy mouth contributes to a healthy liver, kidneys, and heart…and that’s something to smile about!
If you have any questions, would like to schedule an appointment, or would like information on our new lower dental prices please give us a call anytime at 410-633-8808.