Proper care of the teeth is one of the most important and often ignored preventive health measures for your pet. In many cases, it will add years to your pet’s life!
Even people who “brush after every meal” occasionally need their own teeth cleaned professionally. Your pet certainly does not brush. Therefore, he or she will need periodic help from us. Most pets need their teeth cleaned yearly, but some may require it more (or less) often.
How to Tell When Your Pet Needs Its Teeth Cleaned
- Your doctor has suggested it after a physical examination.
- You routinely examine your pet’s mouth and have noticed that the teeth are discoloured.
- Your pet’s mouth is sensitive, and he/she will not allow you to look at the teeth. Dental pain may also be evidenced by difficulty eating.
- Bad breath is a noticeable problem.
- Blood or infection has been seen coming from the mouth (or on the bedding).
Once we have professionally cleaned your pet’s teeth, there are some things that you can do at home to try to keep them clean. How much you do depends on how much time you can commit and how cooperative your pet is. There are different home programs for each situation, but here is a list of some of the home care tips that do help:
- You can brush your pet’s teeth weekly with a soft toothbrush. Hold the mouth shut and brush only the outside of the teeth. Special dog/cat toothpaste not only tastes better to the pet but it is safe when swallowed. The newer products also contain tartar control agents that will make professional cleanings needed less often.
- Feeding dry foods does not prevent tartar build-up completely but it does slow down the rate of accumulation on the teeth.
- Providing hard chew toys and biscuits will also help. Regardless, your pet’s teeth should be checked once a year by the doctor. Untreated, a dental infection can enter the bloodstream, damage other vital organs and shorten your pet’s life.