Home Dental Care for Your Pet
Annual exams and dental cleanings under anesthesia are vital for your pet’s oral health as well as their overall health. But did you know that you can play an important role in warding off dental disease at home, too? Here are a few suggestions for keeping those chompers pearly white a little longer and ward off the systemic effects of bad oral hygiene:
- • Brushing
At-home brushing is the most powerful tool in your arsenal! Brushing at least every other day has been shown to significantly reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Use a brush and paste specifically for pets and start slowly. Most pets can be taught to tolerate tooth brushing if you are patient. For more helpful information on how to introduce your pet to having its teeth brushed, please look at the handout provided on our website. We are also happy to help you in person.
- • Diet
Prescription diets exist that have been formulated with a special kibble size and matrix that helps to “scrub” the teeth as your pet chews. This can be helpful in further improving your pet’s oral health.
- • Treats and other products
Many treats and dental care products, including sprays and rinses, claim to reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Some of these do help and others don’t. In order to make these products a little less confusing, the Veterinary Oral Health Council was formed. The VOHC certifies products that they have shown to be effective. You can access a list of these products on their website.
While these types of things certainly can have a place in your pet’s oral care routine, they do not replace the need for routine dental cleanings by a veterinarian. By adding home care to your pet’s daily routine, however, you can help to maintain excellent oral health and keep your pet happy and healthy for a long time to come!