Dental Health: It’s Worth the Investment
Strong teeth and healthy gums are imperative for your pet’s overall well-being. Without a good standard of dental health, your pet will struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, may suffer from pain, and will be lacking in opportunities for stimulation. Taking the time to actively brush their teeth and invest in dental toys and snacks can bring a smile to your pet’s face in no time, so don’t shy away from covering it from early on in your furry friend’s life!
Toys and Treats
Different pet breeds need different dental toys but rest assured there are options for everyone. Dogs are particularly prone to building up plaque and trapped hair, and sturdy rubber toys like ridged bones are fantastic for knocking off debris. Dogs have protective saliva, which is spread around the mouth and prevents infection. Giving your dog dental treats such as natural rawhide can help them produce large quantities of saliva and dislodge plaque at the same time.
Cats have barbed tongues, which can sometimes become clogged with hair or food matter. Providing them with a bristled feeding tray can help to dislodge some of the buildup, keeping your feline friend happy and comfortable.
Smaller pets, such as guinea pigs, mice and rabbits, need their teeth checked regularly. Providing them with chewing material and plenty of tough food will help them keep their teeth at a reasonable length. Your vet can point you in the direction of appropriate products no matter what breed you own, so make sure you are covering this area when you ask for a check-up.
As your pet ages, their dietary requirements change as well. They may not be interested in playing with toys as much as they used to, so it is important to ensure they have access to food that suits both their age and their dental needs. Dental food is often broken up into larger pieces, so your pet strengthens their teeth by chewing more and plaque is rubbed away with firm debris. Alterations are made to recipes tailored for senior pets, so make sure you are choosing a dental food that is appropriate for your pet’s age.
Many foods that are beneficial for dental health are actually entirely natural, so do some research and ask your vet about which natural foods you can incorporate into your pet’s regular diet to give them a dental health boost.
Brushing and Mouthwash
It may seem a little strange, but brushing your pet’s teeth has become a modern pet hygiene staple. However, it is important to note that this activity is mainly catered towards dogs, who tend to struggle with dental health more than other pets. Dogs are also usually larger and more docile, making it far easier to care for them with such an interactive process. If you introduce regular brushing to a dog while it is very young, it will become accustomed to it very quickly and will remain comfortable with the process throughout its life. Keep some treats on hand for reassurance and they’ll soon start getting excited about it!
There are a range of pet toothpaste flavours to choose from, including chicken, liver, beef, and fish varieties. Do not use human toothpaste as this will damage your pet’s digestive system. Give your pet the chance to taste their new toothpaste, and get them in a comfortable position. Gently brush their teeth as you would a human’s, and keep going until they seem to have had enough. They usually lose interest quickly, so try to be as thorough as you can in a short time frame. Reward them with plenty of praise and some dental treats – once they make the connection, they’ll come back for more!
Follow this up with some pet-friendly mouthwash. You’ll usually find this in the same area as pet toothpaste. Your pet doesn’t need to know how to gargle, simply add a cup to their water to help clear their mouth of bacteria.
If you’re unsure about the condition of your pet’s teeth, speaking to a professional at Animal Tracks Vet Clinic can put your mind at ease. Your vet can perform a scale and polish if your pet is struggling to manage plaque, and if there is reason for concern, x-rays will be taken to investigate the integrity of the tooth roots. Much like going to the human dentist, there is a range of options when it comes to treatments for pet dental issues. Don’t hesitate to get in touch, your pet will appreciate it!