Leading into Pet Dental Health Month in February, we wanted to provide you with a comprehensive guide to pet dental care at home! Maintaining good dental hygiene is as essential for pets as it is for humans. Dental care for pets goes beyond ensuring fresh breath and shiny white teeth. It’s an important part of their overall health. Poor dental hygiene can lead to severe health issues, including dental disease, pain, and even heart, liver, and kidney disease. Regular dental appointments at our hospital are a great way to ensure your pet’s teeth stay healthy, but there are plenty of things you can do at home to keep your pet’s teeth clean! Regular brushing and use of dental products can help remove plaque and tartar buildup, prevent periodontal disease, and keep your pet’s mouth healthy.
Teeth Brushing at Home
Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly at home is one of the best ways to maintain their dental health. You should make sure to choose a toothbrush and toothpaste specially designed for pets to ensure all ingredients and materials are safe for pets. Ingredients in human toothpaste can be harmful to pets, so only use products specifically for pets. When brushing your pet’s teeth, make sure to choose a time when they are calm and relaxed. Lift your pet’s lips gently and brush the outer surfaces of their teeth and gums. Make sure to reach the back upper molars and canines, as these teeth tend to quickly build up tartar. Brush in soft circles, cleaning down to where the gum meets the tooth. Most pets don’t like having their teeth brushed, so make sure to start slowly and increase the time spent brushing as they get used to it. Reward your pet afterward with their favorite treat or extra cuddles to make the experience positive.
Other Dental Products for Home Care
Dental Chews and Treats
Dental chews and treats are a great addition to teeth brushing to help keep your pet’s teeth clean! As your pet chews, these products will help scrape off plaque and tartar build-up on your pet’s teeth, similar to what occurs when you brush their teeth. Some dental chews and treats even have ingredients that help freshen breath and reduce gum disease. Be sure to always watch your pet while they have a dental chew to prevent any choking hazards. While these chews are a great tool to keep your pet’s teeth clean, it’s also important to remember that dental chews and treats should not replace regular teeth brushing and veterinary dental check-ups.
Dental wipes are another useful tool for maintaining your pet’s oral health. They are convenient and easy to use, especially for pets who are sensitive to toothbrushing. Dental wipes are designed to clean the surface of the teeth and gums, removing plaque and buildup. To use a dental wipe, simply wrap it around your finger and gently wipe it over your pet’s teeth and gums. Make sure to reach all areas, including the back teeth. While not as thorough as brushing, dental wipes can be a good option for pets who do not tolerate toothbrushing.
Oral rinses are specially formulated solutions that you can apply directly to your pet’s mouth or add to their drinking water. These rinses help reduce plaque and tartar build-up. They contain enzymes that kill bacteria and help maintain oral health in pets. Be sure to use an oral rinse that is specifically designed for pets. Like toothpaste, human oral rinses can contain ingredients harmful to pets. While oral rinses are a convenient addition to your pet’s dental care routine, they also should not replace regular brushing or professional dental cleanings.
We hope you found this guide to at-home dental care for pets useful. Remember, maintaining your pet’s oral health is as important as their physical health. By incorporating these practices into your regular pet care routine, you can help prevent dental disease and ensure your pet’s overall well-being. If you notice any signs of dental problems in your pet, don’t hesitate to call us. Until then, happy brushing!