February is National Pet Dental Health month! Did you know that periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in cats and dogs, and by the age of three, most pets will already have early evidence of periodontal disease? (Source: AVMA). As your “Go-to” Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Service, we care about your pet’s dental health so we thought we would share a few helpful tips to help you stay on top of your pet’s oral health care.
It is always best to start a dental health routine with your pets at an early age, as kittens and puppies are little more receptive to learning and trying new things- especially if that new thing involves putting a toothbrush in their mouth! However, even older dogs and cats can learn to enjoy getting their teeth cleaned on a regular basis. Vets recommend cleaning their teeth once a day, however every two days is also acceptable.
Never use human toothpaste! There are special toothpastes for both dogs and cats that your vet or favourite pet store can recommend. If your pet is not at all interested in having his teeth brushed, offer alternative items, such as chew toys, or specially designed snacks to help keep teeth clean and healthy. Although it is recommended to brush your pet’s teeth every day, the reality is that this does not happen. So, the alternatives are a great option!
As with any new activity, approach the new routine gently and when you are both in a relaxed and happy mood. Encourage your pet to sniff the toothpaste, taste it and gradually work up to putting the toothbrush in his mouth and brushing his teeth. With a calm and gentle approach you will increase the likeliness of your pet accepting this as a new part of his regular routine. If your pet seems stressed about cleaning his teeth, take a break and try again another day. Don’t forget to praise both dogs and cats for any small improvements! Positive reinforcement goes a long way!
Just like people, it is recommended that your pet has his teeth checked once a year at the vet in order to monitor for any changes to the mouth and gums. If you notice bad breath, any changes to the way he chews his food, or any signs of pain while eating, make an appointment to see the vet immediately as this can indicate an issue with the teeth or gums.
Other signs of dental problems that you should look for are:
- broken or loose teeth
- extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- bleeding gums
- abnormal drooling
- lack of appetite
- brown or discolored teeth
Keeping your pet’s teeth clean and pain-free is a great way to show your pet how much you care. It can also prevent costly vet-bills in the future.
We at Move your Doggie wish you a happy and successful National Pet Dental Health month!
Please feel free to post any questions or comments below or leave us a message on our Contact Us page to book your complimentary meet-and-greet.