February is known as National Pet Dental Health month which makes it the perfect time to discuss the importance of proper dental care. Eighty percent of the dental tartar that builds on your pet’s teeth consists of bacteria. In addition, it is very likely for this bacteria that is already damaging your pet’s gums beyond repair to then enter their bloodstream and cause serious infections. The scariest part about this is that your furry friend may not be aware of their poor dental hygiene to warn you of any issues. This is why it is particularly critical to stay on top of their dental hygiene. So, let’s look further into how proper dental care can preserve your pet’s overall health.
Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
Brushing your pet’s teeth is extremely important and you should be doing it at least three to four times a week, eventually making it a habit to do every day. Make sure you are using a brush with soft bristles along with pet-friendly toothpaste. Keep in mind that this might not be the easiest task, so try to turn tooth brushing into a bonding experience with your pet. It may take a couple of weeks, but eventually, once the habit is adopted, the process should be much smoother.
Regular Dental Check-Ups
You will also want to be sure you are taking your pet in for dental checkups on either a quarterly or yearly basis. During these sessions, the vet will be able to administer anesthesia and conduct a thorough dental cleaning. These cleaning can be pretty effective, especially if you are unable to brush their teeth on a daily basis. A dental exam will also be critical in spotting any bleeding, cracked teeth, inflammation, or cancerous bumps.
Dental Treats, Toys, & Food
Providing your furry friend with some treats and toys may not be as efficient as brushing their teeth, but will still help with their oral health and keep their teeth and gums healthy. Plus, pets love them and you can get them in a variety of flavors like chicken and tuna.
Don’t Ignore Any Signs
As mentioned earlier, your pet may not be able to warn you of any dental issues. However, this does not mean that there won’t be warning signs to look out for, like bad breath. This could indicate that your pet might have a periodontal disease like stomatitis. Some of the other warning signs to be aware of are bleeding gums, yellow or brown teeth, or loss of teeth altogether. If you begin noticing any of these signs, or your pet begins acting irritable, you will need to take them to a vet for a checkup and dental review.
Your pet’s diet can also play a major role in their overall health and hygiene. Certain foods can be very acidic and can damage their teeth. On the flip side, there are a plethora of foods specifically formulated to maintain oral hygiene and prevent dental disease.
So, it is important to stay on top of your pet’s dental hygiene as it can have an impact on their overall health. If you have any additional questions on best practices for dental care, feel free to get in touch with Cherrelyn Animal Hospital at (303) 532-1258!