Regular dental care plays an essential role in helping your pet feel great and stay healthy. To help keep your pet's teeth and gums in tip-top shape, follow this advice from our Fort Oglethorpe vets on how often to get your cat or dog's teeth cleaned.
Caring For Your Four-Legged Friend's Oral Health
The oral health of your dog or cat plays an essential role in their overall physical health and wellbeing. A lack of routine dental care for your dog or cat could lead to painful teeth and gums as well as various dental conditions such as tooth decay and periodontal disease. This is why providing your furry companion with routine dental care - including both at-home teeth brushing and professional dental exams by your vet - are so important.
At-Home Teeth Cleaning for Dogs and Cats
Brushing your cat or dog's teeth at home - ideally once a day between their dental appointments - is the ideal way to prevent harmful plaque and bacteria from building up on your pet's teeth. It also provides you with the opportunity to identify any developing symptoms of a dental condition such as yellow teeth, bad breath, red swollen gums, or even bleeding in their mouth.
Especially when you are both getting used to the process, wait until both you and your pet are in a relaxed calm state before brushing your dog or cat's teeth. Please keep in mind that if this is your first time brushing your pet's teeth you probably won't be able to give them a full brushing session. The first several times you try brushing your pet's teeth begin by massaging their gums and teeth in small circular motions to get them used to the feeling of being touched in their mouths and work your way up to a minute. Then you can introduce the toothpaste. There is special toothpaste made specifically for cats and dogs that come in flavors they will love such as chicken or beef. Start by letting them lick a bit of the toothpaste off of your finger rewarding them with treats and pets in between sessions.
When your pet is used to the toothpaste you can introduce the toothbrush by letting them lick a bit of the cat or dog toothpaste off of the brush. After a few days, you can gradually start brushing their teeth. Brush their teeth in the same small circular motion as you did the massages, it will take several tries before your cat or dog will let you fully brush their teeth, so it's okay if you only get a couple of teeth done at first.
If brushing your furry companion's teeth is too stressful for you and your pet there are several alternative options available. When brushing daily isn't an option, you may want to consider pet dental health products such as food and water additives, dental health kibbles, or dental chews. Your vet will be able to provide you with guidance on the dental care routines or products that will work best for your four-legged friend.
Professional Pet Dental Care - Your Dog or Cat's Dentist
Just as you see your dentist, cats and dogs also require professional dental care. At-home brushing and dental care can't replace professional dental exams and cleanings at your veterinarian's office. You should bring your cat or dog to see their vet for a dental exam and cleaning at least once a year. Veterinarians are highly trained and qualified to get your pet's mouth as clean as possible as well as to identify any arising dental conditions early such as plaque build-up or periodontal disease. When these serious dental conditions are caught in their earliest stages they are easier and more affordable to treat. In every dental cleaning, your vet will also apply a dental sealant that will help prevent plaque from attaching to your pet's tooth enamel.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.