Dental Health For Pets

Dental health is not just important for the human members of your family; pet dental health is a specialized form of veterinary care that is important for the overall health and well being for your pets.  Proper oral hygiene not only prevents oral diseases, but excessive tartar, tooth decay, and periodontal disease are associated with a wide range of major health conditions in animals including problems with the heart, liver, and kidneys.  However, a routine that  includes regular brushing and checkups as well as proper nutrition can help your pet live a long, healthy life.

Ultimately, your pet’s dental health is your responsibility.  Pets cannot brush their own teeth or make appointments to visit the dentist, so as a pet owner ensuring your pet’s dental health is a critical aspect of having a pet.  Ignoring the dental health needs of your pet exposes them to increased risk of broken teeth, cavities, tooth decay, and other conditions that severely impact your pet’s quality of life.  More importantly, while cats and dogs feel pain associated with dental problems, they are incapable of expressing this pain clearly.  They may stop eating or exhibit other strange behaviours, which are detrimental to their overall health.

The most important thing you can do as a pet owner is to regularly check your pet’s teeth for signs of a problem.  Red or inflamed gums, foul breath, and abscesses in the mouth are just a few signs that your pet is suffering from poor dental health.  Ideally, you want to prevent these problems before they arise.  The following guidelines should help you maintain your pet’s teeth so they have a better quality of life.

Brush your pet’s teeth on a daily basis, if possible.  If your pet has not been exposed to brushing, start slowly so that they gradually become comfortable with regular brushing.  You should start brushing your pet’s teeth by age eight to twelve weeks so they become familiar with the routine from a young age.  If your pet is resistant to brushing, try introducing some rewards.  Pets will respond to reinforcement.

In addition to regular cleaning, you should ensure that your pet has regular dental checkups from your veterinarian.

Finally, proper nutrition is a key element in pet dental health.  Some pet foods are specifically formulated to improve dental health, but you can also make sure your pet is on a healthy diet.  By receiving the proper nutrients, your pet’s teeth and bones will be stronger and more resistant to oral diseases.