Home Dental Care And Your Pet
By Dr. Janet Weistock, Veterinarian
Is dental care for my pet really important? Do you get your teeth checked every six months even though you may brush and floss at home? Well same goes for your pet, so yes, a healthy mouth is important not just for fresher breath when your pet gives you smooches, but it also keeps their teeth and gums healthy.
Plaque and tartar build up on the teeth and under the gum line lead to gum disease and can ultimately damage tooth roots and bone below the gums. What can you do to keep that mouth healthy? Professional examinations, cleanings and home care all contribute to keeping your pet’s mouth as healthy as possible.
Why do I need to do home dental care if I give my cat or dog those dental treats?
Well, for those that have landshark dogs or cats that will not let anyone near their mouth without inflicting harm, that may be the best you can do.
For those that have more manageable pets, you can do home care to keep those chompers healthy.
I tell all of my clients, start out gradually to warm your pet up to home tooth care. If you come at them guns blazing trying to do the whole mouth right off the bat, you will make it a negative experience for you and them both, causing them to run when they see you coming at them. Start by playing with their lips. Let them get used to that first, then gradually start working on brushing one of their front teeth (such as the large prominent canine tooth). You may spend weeks doing the same tooth, but it will make them more open and tolerant to what you are doing and allow you to gradually build up to working your way around the mouth to brush the rest of the teeth over time. The key is to not make it negative to them, so take your time and ease them into the process.
There are cat and dog toothpastes which you do want to use, not just for the flavoring, but because they have enzymes that slow the plaque and tartar build up on the teeth.
If your pet already has tartar or gum disease, you likely need to visit your veterinarian for a professional cleaning to get a full thorough assessment of the mouth, proper full cleaning and possible removal of any damaged or unhealthy teeth. After that you can then start home care once you get the go ahead from your veterinarian.
Please call the hospital to schedule to have your pet’s oral cavity assessed and if needed schedule a professional cleaning or further discuss home care.