Just because it’s February doesn’t mean it’s too late to start adapting some healthier habits - and with this month also being Pet Dental Month, now is the perfect time to find motivation!
Just like humans, dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health and wellbeing and requires more than just remembering to brush their teeth every week or so. Just imagine if you didn’t brush your teeth every day! Not only would some of your co-workers start dodging you in the hallways, but you could also start to develop some serious issues with your gums, jaw or worse.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind (and on hand) to ensure your pet’s oral health gets the attention it deserves.
Buy Teeth-Friendly Foods
Did you know that canned foods tend to create more plaque and tartar buildup than “kibble” or crunchier foods? This is because crunchier foods can help remove some of the plaque near the tops of a dog’s teeth, while canned foods do not. And since the most common oral disease in pets consists of plaque and tartar buildup, making the switch to more teeth-friendly foods is simple yet effective in keep your pet smiling.
Check With Your Vet
Don’t forget that pets get toothaches too! Even though some pets will continue to eat despite experiencing oral pain, make sure to have their teeth and gums checked annually (or even semi-annually) by your vet. This helps with preventative action, as well as provides you with some peace of mind. However, if you notice your pet is experiencing bad breath, excessive drooling, inflammation, or visibly damaged or missing teeth, this usually indicates that you should see your vet ASAP, as it can point to larger health problems.
Make It A Routine
Just like with toddlers, your pet needs to get used to the routine of brushing their teeth daily. Brushing at the same time each day helps your pet to understand (and hopefully accept) that you’re going to be all-up-in their mouth, whether they like it or not. Positive reinforcement can also help turn brush time into bonding time. Lots of belly rubs should be given before and after, or if you’re in a rush you can try using wipes or pads to wipe away some bacteria and food from their gum line. You can use a canine dental pad, available at most pet stores, or a simple gauze pad wrapped around your finger.
Make It Fun
Besides brushing, your pet’s oral health depends on a healthy, happy lifestyle which means swapping teeth-damaging toys for teeth-protecting ones. Nylon tennis balls can erode the crowns of teeth, so try trading them in for rubber road hockey balls or Kong toys instead.
Remember, the best way to prevent oral disease in pets means daily brushing and care. This means making a little more time to care for your furry friend, which they are not likely to complain about!