Pet dental health is something a lot of pet parents often overlook. We routinely brush our teeth twice a day, but how often do you take care of your pet’s teeth? It may not be on the top of your to-do list yet, but caring for your pet’s dental health can save your pet from lots of medical issues and save you quite a bit of money.
Dental problems in pets are very common with 80% of dogs and 70% of cats developing some kind of dental disease by the age of three, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dental problems can lead to other illnesses in your pet as bacteria from the mouth can migrate through the bloodstream and infect internal organs. Other underlying internal health issues can also be the root cause of many dental health issues in your pet. Taking care of your pet’s dental health is vital to their overall well-being.
It’s easy to identify symptoms that might indicate your pet has dental health issues. Once you know the signs of poor pet dental health, then you can start making changes to help them and prevent issues in the future!
What are some symptoms of poor dental health?
- Bad breath
- Yellow or discolored teeth, indicative of plaque and tartar buildup
- Red and inflamed gums
- Difficulty eating—your pet may drool excessively, spit food out, or refuse to eat
- Pain in or around the mouth—your pet may paw at their face or mouth frequently
- Bleeding from the mouth
What can I do to make sure my pet’s dental health is the best it can be?
There are lots of things you can do at home to make sure your pet’s mouth is in top shape! Just like with people, we can take steps to ensure we’re caring for our pet’s dental health in simple ways.
1. Brush your pet’s teeth!
Now, we know this may be a tough feat for a lot of pets. However, brushing your pet’s teeth once a day or every other day is perhaps the easiest and cheapest thing a pet owner can do for your pet’s dental health.
We like this handy guide that explains how to train your pet to tolerate a good fang-brushing. Using a soft-bristle toothbrush or a finger brush and some pet-safe toothpaste, you can help remove plaque and tartar buildup and keep those pearly whites shining bright!
Do NOT use human toothpaste. The toothpastes we use contain ingredients that can’t be swallowed and may be poisonous to your pets, such as xylitol and baking soda. We recommend talking to your veterinarian to get the best recommendations on products for your pet.
2. Make sure you pet’s food is formulated with dental health in mind
Many pet dental health issues are caused by what your dog eats (or doesn’t eat). Look for the Veterinary Oral Health Care Seal of Approval on your pet’s food. These types of foods are formulated to ensure your pet is receiving all the vital nutrients for a healthy mouth! Along with the nutritional aspect, these foods have morsels that are designed to “scrub” the teeth as your pet chews.
There are also a few key things that should be included in your dog’s diet that can help their dental health. Make sure their diet includes:
- Raw meaty bones
- Fatty acids
These things all provide nutritional support for your dog’s dental health. Dogs Naturally provides a deeper dive to help you learn more about each of them and why they help.
Additionally, avoid giving your pet table scraps! Not only are table scraps bad for the waist-line, but table scraps have a tendency to get stuck between teeth, making a comfy breeding ground for bacteria to grow.
3. Get some dental toys and treats!
There are many treats and toys on the market that will help improve your pet’s dental health. Is your pet fighting you every time you attempt to brush their teeth? Have them brush their own teeth with a dental chew or toy! Check out Chewy for tons of great dental care toy and treat options for your pet.
4. Book an appointment with your vet for a dental cleaning!
It’s crucial to book a professional pet dental cleaning at your favorite Charleston veterinarian once or twice a year. Your pet will need to be put under general anesthesia for this procedure, but don’t worry! Your vet will make sure to run lots of tests and blood work to make sure your pet is a safe candidate for general anesthesia.
During the procedure, your vet will use special tools to get in all the nooks and crannies that you can’t reach with a regular toothbrush. Bacteria lurking below the gum line is the most important to clean out as it can cause infections deep into the tooth roots and jawbone. A regular toothbrush can’t reach below the gum line, which is why it is so important to have your pet’s mouth professionally cleaned!
Good dental health saves you and your pet!
By taking care of your pet’s dental health at home, you can potentially save you and your pet from some expensive trips to the vet. Even better, studies suggest that regularly taking care of your pet’s dental health can add years onto their life! Who doesn’t want their pet to be around as long as possible? Clean pearly-whites means a happy, healthy pet!
Charleston Dog Walker is a professional dog walking and pet sitting company here to give Charleston pet parents like you a safe, trustworthy, and reliable pet care solution when you work or travel. Give us a call at 843-580-2212 to get more information about how we can help you or sign up today to get started!