Provided by United Concordia - April 2023 Newsletter
When it comes to keeping our furry friends healthy, establishing a good oral hygiene routine plays an important role in maintaining their overall health. It’s estimated that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show symptoms of dental disease by three years old1. Gum disease is the most common condition in dogs and cats, and early detection and treatment are critical in preventing other serious health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian for early signs of problems, but in the meantime, here are some ways you can care for your pet’s teeth at home:
1. Establish a good brushing routine – For both pets and humans, teeth brushing is the foundation of good oral health. Specifically designed dog toothbrushes with angled handles, soft bristles and multiple heads make reaching all the tiny nooks and crannies inside your pet’s mouth easier and quicker. You’ll need toothpaste specific for pets, as human toothpaste contains toxic ingredients like xylitol and fluoride. Establishing a regular teeth cleaning schedule at home is an easy routine and will help keep your pet’s teeth clean in between vet visits.
2. Feed a nutritional, healthy diet – Studies have found that dogs and cats fed exclusively soft diets, such as canned foods or human food, have significantly more plaque and tartar buildup compared to typical dry foods2. Your pet’s teeth will benefit from dry, nutrient-rich, breed-specific food, and as a bonus, it will help remove bits of plaque while producing saliva to protect their mouth.
3. Offer dental chews – Dental chews clean your pet’s teeth while also stimulating their natural cravings for a tasty treat. These chews are designed to minimize plaque buildup and tartar while polishing their teeth. Dental chews come in a variety of shapes and sizes with features, such as ridges and nubs, that get into those hard-to-reach places.
4. Introduce tooth wipes – For pet owners that are unable to brush their pet’s teeth or simply want to switch up their routine, dental wipes are a great solution. Tooth wipes are meant to be rubbed against their teeth to help remove plaque and are often easier to manage than a toothbrush with toothpaste.
Your veterinarian can create a personalized home dental care plan that works best for your pet’s lifestyle.
Watch the video to learn more about home dental health for your pet.
Sources: 1. Pet Dental Health: A Prevention Angle; Exceptional Pets, 2023. Retrieved March 2023. 2. The Choice of Diet Affects the Oral Health of the Domestic Cat; National Library of Medicine, 2015. Retrieved March 2023