You know that dental health in humans is important. You visit your dentist regularly, and you brush your teeth. Pets need just as much care and attention. You find products that reduce plaque, including toothpaste and specialty kibble. However, pets still often suffer dental problems. Here are five tips to protect your four-legged family member.
1. Pets Mask Dental Pain
While your cat or dog is quick to let you know when you have stepped on a tail or brushed too hard, they often mask when their teeth hurt. They may still eat, but they know that food is key to survival. Therefore, it is important to have a dental checkup at least once a year to allow the veterinarian to inspect the teeth and gums.
2. Brush Your Pet’s Teeth
Just as it is vital for your dental health, brushing your pet’s teeth should be done once a day if possible. Whenever possible, start introducing this routine at a very young age. However, it is never too late to begin improving your animal’s care. Using positive reinforcement and gradually increasing the activity, teeth brushing can be introduced at any age. Brushes and toothpaste are sold at almost every pet store. If you have any questions on technique, talk to your veterinarian.
3. Use Dental-Friendly Food and Treats
Despite the fact most animals prefer soft, wet food, it is worse for your pet’s teeth than dry kibble. Dry food scraps plaque off the tooth while chewing. However, if your pet is prescribed a canned food, discuss it with your veterinarian methods to prevent tartar build-up. With treats sold over-the-counter, you will want to take caution. They often help with tartar but can present choking hazards and tooth fractures. This does not mean you should not give them to your pet, but be careful and always talk to your veterinarian.
4. Be Careful with Toys
Toys are great to relieve boredom in any pet, but some are dangerous to your four-legged family member’s teeth. Many toys do not affect your animal, especially ones constructed of hard rubber. Veterinarians advise against using tennis balls in normal play. If you have any questions on safety, consult with your vet for a list of safe toys.
5. Do Not Ignore Things that are Off
Anytime you notice something off about your pet, you should document it and converse with the vet. This includes discolorations, sudden bad breath, drooling, or damaged teeth. Bad breath is usually ignored as a “normal” pet problem. However, it is generally the first sign that there is something more significant going on. You might notice your pup eating slower or less of their meal. Whatever it is, write down as much of their routine as you can think of for any questions the doctor has when you call.
Many severe conditions are treatable when they are caught in the early stages. This means not skipping annual exams and doing what you can to keep plaque away. However, if you need after-hours care, contact https://mountpleasantanimalhospital.com/ for assistance.