Right At Home: Your Guide To At-Home Pet Dental Care
Even though we all know that Benjamin Franklin’s quote “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is true, procrastination is simply human nature. This is certainly the case with pets when it comes to dental care. Most of the time, daily tooth brushing is a task that falls off our to-do list, until we snuggle up with our pet and notice their stinky breath – but by that time, dental disease may be unavoidable.
Instead, let Berks Animal Emergency and Referral Center guide you through at-home pet dental care so that you can keep this at the top of mind. With dental exams, x-rays, professional dental cleanings, and at-home pet dental care, you can really give your pet better health for the long haul.
The Ugly Truth
The ugly truth is that most pets (85%) have some form of pet dental disease by the time they are three years of age. This can be due in part to genetics, but is mainly the result of persistent lack of brushing at home, as well as putting off professional dental cleanings indefinitely.
Risks of periodontal (gum) disease go far beyond the mouth. In addition to bad breath, a painful infected mouth, and tooth loss, periodontal disease can also cause organ damage to the liver, heart, and kidneys. All this can drastically reduce your pet’s life expectancy.
But the good news is that periodontal disease is preventable. With a regular program of professional cleaning and consistent at home pet dental care, a healthy mouth and a healthy pet go hand in hand.
Tools of The Trade
Start by purchasing a pet toothbrush – there are angled brushes available for large dogs, and finger brushes tend to work really well for small dogs and cats. Ask your veterinarian if you need help selecting one or your pet.
You’ll also want to pick up some pet toothpaste (not human, as this can make your pet sick). Pet toothpaste comes in a variety of yummy flavors like poultry and malt, and contains enzymes that help to break down plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth.
Brushing your pet’s teeth correctly and consistently is the key to proper at-home pet dental care. No one is perfect, but a little brushing really will go a long way! With diligence, patience, and positivity, even adult pets can learn to tolerate toothbrushing. Give your veterinarian a call if you need help getting started.
Back Up Plans
Nothing can replace brushing your pet’s teeth in terms of great at-home pet dental care, your veterinarian may also recommend the following:
Dental diet – Several companies, including Royal Canin, Hills t/d, and others offer diets specifically formulated to prevent dental plaque and tartar. Some work by scraping the tartar off the teeth, while others are designed to decrease the amount of calculus buildup.
Dental chews or treats – These treats typically have an abrasive texture and may also contain ingredients to control tartar and plaque. Either way, to be effective your pet has to actually chew the treat for a few minutes, not just gulp it down!
There are also dental rinses, sprays, and water additives on the market, but their effectiveness has not been proven.
A Seal Of Approval
All dental products used for pets should have the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of approval. This means that an independent body has determined that the product is actually effective in reducing plaque and tartar on pets’ teeth.
At Home Pet Dental Care
Preventing pet dental disease takes a commitment on your part. But the payoff is great: a healthier mouth for your pet, a longer life, and saving your pet from discomfort and pain. We are your partners in compassionate pet care, so if we can assist you or answer any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.