February is that time of the year when pet parents are reminded of the importance of pet dental care. Celebrating Pet Dental Health month means that there is a need to raise more awareness, whether it’s about the pet dental care practices or health issues. Facts about pet dental health equips pet parents with the right knowledge to support and care for their furbaby.

 

cat dental health

Source: @themaxsociety

 

This doesn’t mean that pet dental care ends when February does, because health is key to a happy life with your furbaby. Get to know the why pet dental care is important to your pet here:

 

  1. Physical exam

Don’t wait for your furbaby to experience discomfort or pain to undergo a physical exam with his veterinarian. Annual physical exams are necessary to check for warning signs related to dog and cat dental health issues, such as bad breath; head and neck abnormalities; redness, bleeding or inflammation in his teeth and gums; loss, cracked teeth and tartar; and lumps. Diagnosing any of these early can go a long way!

In some cases, your furbaby may have to undergo laboratory examinations such as a blood test, urinalysis and an x-ray, with focus on the mouth and face, to ensure that he is healthy. 

 

  1. Regular dental cleaning

Regular dental cleaning must be performed by a professional. Annual checkups are necessary to ensure that your furbaby’s dental health is at its optimum level, detect problems early and to provide the right treatment. According to Vetstreet, a dental cleaning may include the following:

  • Removal of visible plaque and tartar from the teeth
  • Elimination of plaque and tartar from under the gum
  • Probing of dental sockets to assess dental disease
  • Polishing to smooth enamel scratches that may attract bacteria
  • Dental radiographs (X-rays) to evaluate problems below the gum line
  • Application of fluoride or a dental sealer
  • Removal or repair of fractured or infected teeth
  • Dental charting so progression of dental disease can be monitored over time
  • Inspection of the lips, tongue, and entire mouth for growths, wounds, or other problems.

 

It is possible for some veterinary dentists to suggest placing your pet under general anesthesia. This will allow your furbaby’s dentist to completely thoroughly inspect and clean your furbaby’s mouth. A soft plastic tube will be inserted into your furbaby’s trachea to support his breathing while he’s under anesthesia and to prevent the inhalation of bacteria during the dental cleaning procedure. Pet dental care without anesthesia is almost impossible and poses a high risk of injury for the veterinarian and your furbaby. 

Don’t attempt to do any of this yourself, especially if your furbaby is obviously in pain. Remember that pets tend to become aggressive when they are not feeling their best.

 

  1. Oral Hygiene Care at Home

Dog and cat dental health can be very tricky and difficult because pet parents play an important role in pet dental care too. This means brushing the teeth of your furbaby with his own toothpaste and toothbrush! Since the importance of dental care and teeth brushing to your pet’s health is very high; cat and dog teeth cleaning, how often should you do it? Daily brushing is highly recommended. If not, several times a week can be effective too.

It will take a lot of training and patience before you master the art of brushing your furbaby’s teeth, or at least get used to it. If you own a cat, the likelihood of him resisting the toothbrush is a lot higher than if you own a dog. Find what works for your pet and establish a routine to make it easier.

Note: do NOT use human toothpaste as it may contain ingredients harmful to your furbaby’s health.

pet toothbrush

Trip EZ Dental Kit

 

  1. Treats and toys

Are there any alternatives to pet teeth cleaning? Yes! Dog and cat dental toys exist to help support your pet’s dental health. This will definitely let you hit two birds with one stone – pet dental health and exercise to get your pet healthy and fit.

However, this does not change the fact that you still have to clean your furbaby’s teeth. Treats and toys are only aimed to aid and support pet dental care.  

 

  1. Diet

Another alternative to pet teeth cleaning – food! What you feed your furbaby matters A LOT. It’s no surprise that your furbaby’s diet also plays a vital role in pet dental care. There are dental diets and treats that prevent and decrease the buildup of plaque and tartar.

There are cat and dog dental health chews, as well as cat and dog dental health treats. These dental diet-approved kibble and treats are dried foods keep your furbaby’s mouth in good by scrubbing his teeth. Some foods contain additives to prevent tartar build up. The best part – they’re so delicious, your pet won’t suspect that you’re feeding him something good for his health.

Again, this doesn’t change the fact that you still have to brush your furbaby’s teeth!

 dental toys for puppies

Petstages Dental Chews

 

Conclusion

Pet dental care should be put into play every single day, from annual dental checkups to daily teeth brushing. A few minutes of training and extra patience when caring for your pet’s dental health will pay off knowing your furbaby will be a happier and healthy one afterwards.

These facts about pet dental health’s purpose is simply to provide information. Before you make decisions regarding your pet’s health, consult your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you’re considering for your pet.

 

Sources:

https://pets.webmd.com/

https://www.avma.org/

http://www.vetstreet.com/

http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/