Everyone knows the importance of proper oral hygiene and trips to the dentist for semi-annual cleanings. Plaque buildup can cause tooth decay and gum disease which can also lead to a number of other overall health issues. This is why we all diligently brush our teeth every day and see our dentist every year. But did you know that dental health is just as important for our pets?
National Pet Dental Health Month was established to draw attention to the need for regular preventative care and routine dental health maintenance for our beloved companions. If you’re thinking “Hold up, I never brush my pet’s teeth,” you’re not alone. In fact, the vast majority of pet owners don’t. However, just because it hasn’t been part of your routine up until now doesn’t mean you can’t change things for the better.
We’ve compiled some FAQs to help you keep your furry friend’s teeth their sparkling best:
How often should I brush my pet’s teeth?
In an ideal world, your pet’s teeth would get brushed daily. However, we understand new habits can be difficult to form, for both humans and pets. At a minimum, try to start a habit of brushing your pet’s teeth once a week to really scrub off plaque that may be forming.
What sort of toothbrush and toothpaste should I use for my cat or dog?
There are toothbrushes designed especially for pets and the shape of their mouths. These can be found at all pet stores. Never use human toothpaste! Instead, use toothpaste that is specially formulated for a cat or a dog. This will have a taste they’ll enjoy, which will hopefully help ease them through the process a little.
Can I give them chew toys to clean their teeth?
Direct brushing is always best, but there are plenty of specially designed chew toys available at pet stores that can help scrape and loosen plaque. We recommend that if you are doing the once a week brushing, this could be paired to help the effort the other days.
Do I need to take my pet for a professional dental cleaning?
The brushing and chew toys are great ways to prevent plaque buildup, but like with humans, having a regular checkup and cleaning at the vet is ideal to help keep your pet’s mouth its best. The timing for how often your pet should receive a cleaning varies depending on the pet. We recommend that you schedule a visit for an initial cleaning and discuss the best way to proceed from there.
If you don’t currently do routine dental health maintenance on your cat or dog, hopefully this post will inspire you start. To help, during the month of February, Total Veterinary Care is offering 20% off all pet dental cleanings plus a dental goodie bag. Take advantage of this great offer and be sure to schedule your pet’s appointment today!