As pet owners, most of us are very aware of the importance of routine visits to the vet for a health checkup and required vaccinations. BUT – studies have shown that nearly two-thirds of pet owners are unaware of the importance of essential dental care for their pets…and most pets will show some signs of periodontal disease before the age of 3. Keeping a close eye on your pet’s dental health and getting routine teeth cleaning can help improve your pet’s quality of life while saving you money. Wait – a dental cleaning can save you money? YES! It’s often easier and less expensive to prevent dental disease than it is to treat it once it has developed. As Pet Dental Health Month approaches, read on for ways to help your pet keep their bite strong!
Some At-Home Options
What can you do, then, to help prevent periodontal disease in your pet? There are 4 basic steps every pet owner can take to help keep their pet’s mouth happy and healthy. They include:
- Brush their teeth, regularly. While your pet doesn’t need to brush twice a day like you do, regular dental care (ideally 3 times a week) is a necessity. Make sure that you only use a toothpaste which is approved for use in dogs and cats! Most human toothpastes contain ingredients which may be toxic to your pet. You should also consider a special toothbrush for your pet, or at the very least an over the finger type brush, to make the job easier.
- Can’t brush their teeth? Try tooth wipes! We get it – brushing a pet’s teeth can be a real pain! These are made to be rubbed against a pet’s teeth to help remove plaque. While your pet may be more tolerant of a tooth wipe than a toothbrush, keep in mind that wipes generally don’t get into all the nooks and crannies in and around teeth – so they are less effective. Still, if this all your pet will allow, or if you’re looking for a way to supplement your brushing routine, these can be a very effective option.
- Dental treats & chews can be a fun and enjoyable way for you to help keep your pet’s teeth clean. Many brands of treats and chews are available at the pet store for you to try. Greenies chews (for dogs and cats) are one great option, and they now come in a number of varieties to meet your pet’s needs – including grain-free options. There are also many toys available that are designed to help clean a pet’s teeth while they play.
- Finally, nothing can take the place of professional cleaning at the veterinarian’s. While this is the most costly of the options, an annual exam and cleaning is the only way to make sure your pet’s teeth are truly clean – not just where you can see them, but under the gumline where bacteria likes to hide and can’t be removed by any of the methods above. A professional cleaning will require anesthesia for your pet in order to be most effective.
When it’s Worse Than You Thought…
Unfortunately, sometimes when a cleaning occurs your veterinarian may find a dental issue that requires surgery or a tooth extraction. It happens! Remember – you are getting your pet the care and cleaning it needs now before worse damage can take place! Even so, some pets will require many teeth to be extracted – or perhaps just one, but perhaps it’s a larger back tooth with deeper roots. These types of situations may require more sophisticated extraction and healing techniques than standard cleaning and surgery.
That’s where RediHeal Dental Care comes in. If your pet has an abscess or requires an extraction, your vet may pack the site with RediHeal Dental Care. This healing fiber will help your pet to recover more quickly and completely, and with less risk of infection. RediHeal not only helps the soft tissues of the mouth to heal faster, it does so while promoting bone growth – so even the toughest extraction sites can heal quickly.
Tooth brushing isn’t always easy, but it IS essential to help our pets stay healthy. If you aren’t used to managing your pet’s dental care, remember that February is Pet Dental Health Month. That makes it a great time to seek the advice of your favorite veterinarian on helping your pets keep their bite strong!