Our pet’s dental health has become a focus of many forward-thinking pet owners. Aside from regular in-depth veterinary exams and cleanings, as well as visits to PWFP, how can you keep your pet’s teeth white and mouth healthy at home?
First and foremost- teeth brushing! Please be sure (like 100+% sure) that your dog has no loose teeth! Yes, some dogs hate this super important task. But, with a slow and patient introduction,(look out for our how-to videos) most dogs will adapt and accept this new part of their daily routine. Make sure you use a pet-friendly, natural-based toothpaste and an appropriately sized toothbrush…and lots of praise! If your pet has a tiny mouth or is not comfortable being approached by a foreign toothbrush, finger brushes (rubbery caps with bristles or nubs on the end, that fit over your fingertip) or a piece of mildly-abrasive material (like gauze or a cutting from a towel) can be used effectively. Ideally, teeth brushing is best performed daily, but 3-4 times per week is better than nothing! And yes- you can brush cat’s teeth!
Branded dental chews are another popular choice- they’re easy to give, taste great for our pets, and are very convenient! It’s important to choose high-quality options with natural ingredients- remember, the purpose is to keep their dental health in check, but they’re still ingesting it like a treat! Dental chews work in a couple of ways- they have a mildly abrasive texture that helps to gently scrape the surface of the teeth, and the chewing action also massages the gums to stimulate healthy blood circulation, and to reach under the gumline. Some dental chews will have natural plaque softeners and anti-bacterial ingredients- surprisingly enough, kelp solves both issues!
Water additives are another owner favorite. These liquids are added daily to a fresh bowl of water, and contain ingredients that help to cut down on the bacteria in our pet’s mouths, soften existing plaque and tartar, and can help to prevent future build-up. Again, since your pet will be ingesting the product, make sure you look for natural ingredients without dyes or artificial flavoring. To ensure that your pet is getting the correct dosage, make sure you empty and refill your pet’s water bowl daily, with each dose.
Natural chews can also help to reduce plaque and tartar. Options like dehydrated tendons (like ‘bully sticks’) and certain raw bones can become stringy when chewed, creating a flossing effect that gets in all the nooks and crannies of your dog’s mouth! Always be sure to choose the appropriate size for your pet, to reduce the risk of choking or overfeeding- a clean mouth is great, but an upset stomach isn’t! Remember to supervise your pet while they’re enjoying a good chew session, and take it away if it becomes small enough to be ingested whole.
Diet also plays a huge factor in your pet’s overall oral health- this is a lengthy topic that we’ll dig deeper into in a future post, so keep an eye out!
Considering these options is a great first step in managing your pet’s health at home. Keep up the good work- soon you’ll need sunglasses for your pet’s sparkling smile!