Taking care of your pets’ teeth

We’ve all experienced a loving kiss from a pet, only to realize that their breath is purely disgusting. But did you know that bad breath in your pet, can be a sign of gum disease? This may mean that you need to brush your pets’ teeth more often.

If gum disease, or periodontal disease, gets bad enough for a pet, they can experience tooth loss or even organ damage. Here are some tips and tricks to keeping your pets’ pearly whites healthy.

Visit your Vet

Find a place that offers veterinary dentistry in Bend, Oregon, and make an appointment. You might consider your dog or cat to be healthy, but almost 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have significant oral problems that need treatment.

When a vet checks your pet’s mouth for dental decay or disease, your pet may need to be sedated depending on their comfort level. Your vet will check for things like reddened gums or brown-yellow tartar build up. If your pet needs their teeth cleaned more than likely they will need to be put out under general anesthesia. Most pets don’t lay still for their dentist.

Brush Their Teeth

If you haven’t ever brushed your pet’s teeth before, it may take them some getting used to. Don’t force it on them like it’s a form of punishment. Get your pet used to having his or her mouth touched. Don’t use toothpastes formulated for humans. Remember that those are meant to be spit out, and our pets often swallow things. There are plenty of flavors of pet toothpaste so try them out. Let them smell the toothpaste and see if they’re interested in it or not.

Start with shorter brushing sessions and work up to longer ones, as your pet gets used to it. Ideally you should spend 30 seconds on each side of the mouth. It’s recommended to brush your pet’s teeth every day, just like yours, as their plaque can build up just as fast. Try to brush as often as you can, and ask your local veterinary dentistry expert for suggestions.

Diet and Dental Chews

There are some brands of food that are designed to help clean your pet’s teeth better than regular kibble. Usually this kind of diet is only necessary when recommended by a vet. There are plenty of products at your local pet store that offer great dental cleaning as well. Look for certain products that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council, or VOHC, seal on them. This means that the product has met the standards for controlling plaque and tartar in dogs and cats.

Some toys may even be harmful to your pet’s dental health. Tennis balls are known for causing unnecessary wear of the tooth’s surface, and some real bones or pig’s ears can damage or break teeth too. Check out another blog post on healthy chews for your dogs teeth here. Talk to your vet and see what’s best for your pet.