Not a Day Goes By: Getting on Board with Pet Dental Care

A doggy toothbrushOur previous blog post about the benefits of pet dental care was only the tip of the iceberg. While we hoped that the introduction to this vital component of wellness got some gears moving, it’s necessary to understand how tooth brushing works and what supplies are needed.

There’s a great deal to learn, a possibly suspicious pet to convince, and the right products to collect. Ready? We hope so!

The Right Time

Since you’re reading this, it’s likely that you know that preventative medicine and proactive care can lengthen – and strengthen – your pet’s life. At the cornerstone of this approach is, of course, dental health.

It’s always a wonderful time to embark on supportive pet dental care at home. However, the beginning of the year shows not only a commitment to your resolutions, but the calendar year is also a solid tool to measure progress.

Turn the Corner

Kitty or doggie breath is the red flag of oral infection that many pet owners notice. Bone loss, loose or broken teeth, abscesses, and inflamed gums lead to pain, but it’s not always completely obvious. Indeed, many pets will continue to eat (even hard kibble!) and play as usual.

Beyond all the wonderful results that come from regularly scheduled wellness visits, a quick “lip flip” can lead to effective treatment of any problems before they get out of hand.

Speaking of Schedule…

Daily brushing is the best way to reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar, keeping your pet’s mouth (and entire body) healthy. Try these tips to protect and preserve your pet’s teeth and good health:

  • Find time when your pet feels happy and relaxed, like after a walk, bath, or meal.
  • Get your pet used to holding still while you’re checking out his or her teeth and gums. Dip your index finger in some broth or water and insert it into the mouth, lightly touching a few teeth and the gums from front to back.
  • If unbothered by this, introduce your pet to either a gauze-wrapped finger or a silicone toothbrush that fits over the finger. Repeat the above step in a circular motion, touching as many teeth as possible.
  • After graduating to a specifically-designed pet toothbrush, coat the tip with water or a pet-only toothpaste (never human toothpaste!) and aim for 2 solid minutes every day split between the upper and lower jaws.
  • Offer loads of praise and don’t give up!

Successful Pet Dental Care

There are many over-the-counter pet dental products, but they are not all equal. For example, many supplemental products aren’t considered safe due to certain ingredients or choking hazards. Plus, many can add to overall daily caloric content which is not a boon for a weight loss program.

Before you purchase any pet dental care chews or rinses, we urge you to call us or consult the website of approved products by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.

What About Foods?

Similarly, there are effective prescription diets designed to help combat dental disease. When combined with daily brushing at home and yearly professional cleanings, this can be an excellent addition to your approach.

Your team at Berkeley Veterinary Center is happy to guide you toward optimal pet dental care. Please give us a call with any questions or concerns. Good luck!

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