Dogs and cats may have different types of teeth than humans, but they can still develop serious dental health issues — especially gum disease and tooth decay. Although pets don’t need to follow the same oral hygiene routine as their owners, there are many important steps you can take to protect your companion’s teeth and gums. Since February is National Pet Dental Health Month, here are a few veterinarian-recommended tips for improving their oral health.
5 Tips for Pet Dental Care
1. Build a Brushing Routine
Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth daily or at least a few times a week to remove plaque and food debris. Since animals can be protective of their mouths, you may need to slowly build up the routine until your pet becomes used to the sensation. In terms of hygiene tools, it’s critical to use a veterinarian-recommended paste that is safe for your pet, as human toothpaste can contain components that are toxic to animals. There are also many brushes that are optimized for cleaning dogs’ and cats’ mouths.
2. Steer Away From Starches
When oral bacteria feed on sugars and starches, they produce acids that are destructive to teeth and gums. As such, it’s important to serve healthy foods and treats that don’s use these ingredients. If you’re unsure which foods are best for your pet’s dietary needs, consult a veterinarian for guidance.
3. Invest in Chew Toys
Chew toys and rawhide bones for dogs serve two benefits for oral health. First, the texture of these toys can help scrape plaque and food build-up off of teeth to keep them clean. Second, the act of chewing stimulates saliva production, which can help rinse harmful components out of the mouth.
4. Always Make Water Available
When your pet has access to fresh water, they avoid the risk of becoming dehydrated and developing dry mouth — a problem that promotes harmful bacterial activity. Water also helps flush away food debris and plaque that can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.
5. Visit a Veterinarian Yearly
In general, you should have your provider inspect and clean your pet’s teeth and gums during their annual wellness visit. In addition to preventing oral health problems, this professional examination will identify any hidden issues that may be causing problems. You should also visit an animal clinic if your four-legged friend is showing signs of trouble — such as bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, problems eating, and oral pain.
Offering full-service care to Baldwin County residents, Animal Medical Center in Foley, AL, is equipped to help you prevent, identify, and treat pet dental health issues, including gum disease and tooth decay. Their caring veterinarians, Dr. John Heilmeier and Dr. Kasey Singley, can also introduce you to custom solutions and pet supplies to improve your pet’s at-home oral hygiene. Visit the animal clinic online for more details on their comprehensive services or call (251) 955-5900 to schedule an appointment for your furry friend today.