Pets are family. Research shows over 70% of us agree on that. But what other member of your family doesn’t brush, floss, or see the dentist…ever? It can be all too easy to let your pet’s dental health get pushed to the back burner. Unfortunately, once your pet’s breath smells less than pleasant, dental disease may be a foregone conclusion. 

Let Huntington Veterinary Hospital guide you toward making a new habit for the new year – and a A+ in at home pet dental care. 

First Things First

The sad truth is that by the time most pets are three years old, dental disease is common. This is the result of genetics, partly, but also due to persistent lack of brushing and professional dental cleanings. 

Risks of pet dental disease include bad breath, but don’t stop there. A painful infected mouth, tooth loss, and even organ damage can all result from dental disease. The bottom line is that poor dental health can greatly affect your pet’s quality of life, not to mention the length of her life. 

Now, the good news: dental disease in pets is 100% preventable! Start with a professional dental cleaning in our office, and then tackle an at home pet dental care program that can give your pet a lifetime of good health. 

And Now, Brush

Brushing your pet’s teeth every day is the single best way to fight plaque and tartar at home. If we just lost you, bear with us! Although the best time to start brushing your pet’s teeth is when their baby teeth emerge, even adult pets can learn to tolerate and even enjoy this gentle attention.

Start by purchasing the right toothbrush for your pet. There are large angled brushes for dogs, and a finger brush works well for small dogs and cats. You’ll also need pet (not human) toothpaste, which contains enzymes that help break down plaque and tartar. 

Let us know if you would like help in learning how to brush your pet’s teeth. 

Proven Products

Nothing can replace brushing in terms of great at home pet dental care. But if your veterinarian feels your pet may benefit, we may also recommend one of the following:

Dental diet – Several pet diets have been formulated to remove plaque and tartar. These work by abrasive action in scraping the tartar off the teeth. They may also contain enzymes that decrease the amount of calculus buildup. 

Dental chews and treats – These treats work in much the same way as the dental diets do. However, they do need to be chewed for several minutes (not just gulped down!) in order to work effectively. 

Be sure any product you choose has been approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council to be effective in preventing or reducing plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth. 

Buyer Beware

Chewing on objects harder than the tooth may lead to dental fractures. Avoid cow or horse hooves, bones, ice cubes and rocks. These items commonly cause fractures of the upper premolars. 

Toys that seldom cause harm to the teeth include rubber balls and toys such as Kongs and Nylabones. Toys or treats that can be pulled apart and ingested should be given with supervision as they put pets at risk for GI upset or blockage.

Home Pet Dental Care

At home pet dental care is a wonderful way to give your pet a healthy and happy life. Although it’s a commitment on your part, the benefits for your pet are numerous. As always, we are here to support you in pet health, so call us with any questions or concerns.