It’s National Pet Dental Health Month! Pet dental care is very important to us, as good dental health is important to the overall health of your pet. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA®): “Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.” But, in between those checkups what do you do? I’m going to share my three favorite tips for pet dental care so that you can take care of your pet’s teeth as well as yours!
Pet Dental Care Tip No. 1 — Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
Do you brush your dog’s teeth? Or cat? According to the AVMA, the most effective way to keep your pet’s teeth healthy between visits is by brushing. You may find it difficult to brush your dog’s teeth everyday but every few days is better than nothing. The earlier you start brushing the better, as it takes time and patience to get good at it and for your pet to accept it.
I have a confession to make though, the Lady I rescued does not brush our teeth. Mostly because of the patience it requires. So we leave this subject up to the experts by sharing an AVMA video demonstrating how to clean your pet’s teeth. Cat’s don’t take to brushing as well as a dog though.
Pet Dental Care Tip No. 2 — Chew Toys
Since the Lady doesn’t brush our teeth she looks for products that keep our teeth as healthy as possible. Because of my strong chew instinct, our favorite is a durable chew toy. There are many on the market, but Nylabone® (Amazon affiliate link) is by far our favorite. Nylabones are available in dozens of sizes, styles and chew strength, making it a great choice for any dog.
Pet Dental Care Tip No. 3 — Dental Treats
We love dental treats! There are lots of dental pet products on the market today that claim to improve your pet’s dental health. But that doesn’t mean they are all effective. It’s best to talk with your veterinarian about specific products or treats and ask for their recommendation.
In our household we feel that a healthy diet helps to keep your pet’s teeth clean. For example, Taffy grew up on a poor quality dog foods and too many table scraps. By the time she came to live with us she had to have her teeth cleaned by our vet. This requires your pet to go under general anesthesia, which does involve risk, to keep your pet stress and pain-free. The cleaning includes scaling, to remove dental plaque and tartar, and polishing, which is similar to a pet parent’s dental cleaning. For me, at seven and a half years old, following my three tips in addition to a healthy diet, has no need for any cleaning, yet. There is no guarantee that this will completely prevent dental work in our future as we get older.
We do have our favorite dental treats though, and we get one daily, well half of one, we have to share our dental treats. Our favorite brands are Whimzees™ (Amazon affiliate link) and Fresh Kisses™(Amazon affiliate link). Both brands are natural and grain free. Like Nylabone, Whimzees, are a tough chew treat, but edible, and come in dozens of size and styles, making it easy to find the right chew for your dog. Fresh Kisses, infused with coconut and botanical oils, is a soft treat.
We hope you enjoyed learning about my three tips for pet dental care. Anything you do is better than nothing. But, early detection and treatment are important. Advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.
Take advantage of Pet Dental Health Month. Many vets, like ours, offer a discount on dental cleaning during February. Also, pet stores encourage you to take care of your pet’s teeth by offering pet dental products on sale. Which means there’s no excuse for taking care of your pet’s teeth!
For your convenience, products mentioned in this post are also available at my Amazon store.