Dental care for your pet is a very important thing. For quite some time we’ve realized in veterinary medicine that the health of the teeth can greatly affect the overall health of the pet.
Dental disease has been linked to such severe problems as heart failure, kidney failure, and liver failure, among others.
February is Pet Dental Health Month, so we want to make sure that you are paying attention to your pet’s teeth. While we greatly encourage in clinic dental cleanings, we also feel that home care is super important as well.
There’s a few different options for dental home care for pets. The top option is brushing. Yes, you can brush your pet’s teeth. In fact, many grow to enjoy it. The most important thing in it is to use a flavored toothpaste and give it to them as a treat before you actually start using the brush. Just jumping in and scrubbing the teeth with a brush can be a little painful and scary for them at first.
We recommend that you allow the dog or cat to take the flavored toothpaste as a treat to start, offering a small amount on your fingertip. Once they begin to enjoy it, you can start by rubbing it on their teeth and gums with your finger. Only after that’s become an easy habit do you start to introduce the brush.
There are also several less labor intensive ways to treat their teeth, including gels, wipes, water additives and treats.
The gels and wipes work well. Wipes are very similar to brushing, however. Gels require a little less work and seem to do a good job in our experience. We use Maxiguard gel and have for years and find it a very good alternative to brushing.
Water additives are easy, but less effective than the others. Usually the ease of delivery is the main benefit.
Lastly are dental chews or treats. These can work, but tend to maintain the situation at best. They also need to be given fairly frequently which can be cost prohibitive. I consider these a last resort.
Whatever the case, some form of home care is essential to keeping your dog’s mouth healthy. So find what works for you and be consistent!
If your dog’s mouth is in need of a cleaning, we’d be happy to help with that. For February we offer 10% off of all cleanings, so it’s a good time to get yours scheduled!