Healthy Dental Practices for Pets
Healthy dental practice is important for your pets, like it is for us. Healthy teeth and gums help to prevent disease and further complications later on. Today we will be looking at the various methods in which you can keep your cat or dog’s teeth and gums clean!
Methods of keeping your pet’s teeth clean
Brushing your cat or dog’s teeth should be something you do at the very least once a week, to ensure that they keep up their dental hygiene. You can brush their teeth daily, if you’re up to the challenge, but you might need backup once they sense the routine! Avoid using your own toothpaste, as it’s specifically made for our own human teeth. Rather, consider using a specialized dog or cat toothpaste, of which we have a variety to choose from on our website or app. Also ensure you also pick the right toothbrush for your little one, for example, the Beaphar Toothbrush is not only suitable for dogs of all sizes, but the bristles themselves are soft enough to protect your puppy's teeth and gums as well as able to reach and clean those spots that are usually tricky to get to! For cats, it may be easier to use a product like Vet's Best Finger Brushes as it is form fitting, which means it won't fall off, and allows for you to clean smaller mouths while being gentle on your cat’s teeth and gums.
Dental Spray/Mouthwash/Oral Hygiene Solutions
Your pet’s dental hygiene isn’t doomed if you are unable to brush their teeth. Dogs and cats can be finicky and tend to put up a fight whenever we try to clip their nails, bathe them or brush their teeth. Luckily there is an alternative to administering toothpaste. Dental sprays are a quick-fix method towards your pet’s bad breath, but it also helps in cleaning your pet’s mouth and preventing plaque and tartar when used regularly. Oral hygiene solutions or mouthwash solutions are probably the easiest methods of regularly cleaning your pet’s mouth. Simply add a capful per liter to your pet’s drinking water and the solution will take care of the cleaning without leaving any trace of odor or flavor.
There are treats specifically designed to aid in keeping your pet’s teeth clean. Some vegetarian dog treats, like Whimzees or Lily’s Kitchen Woofbrushes are designed to last and encourage thorough chewing to ensure your dog’s teeth and breath are cleaned. If they are more picky with their chewy treats, consider trying Armitage Chewy Twist Treats, these are rawhide treats wrapped in tasty meat to entice your dog. Chewing treats is definitely a helpful way to keep your pup’s teeth clean. There are also other treat options for dogs and cats as well. For dogs, you could try Vet IQ Dental Treats, which contain a cream filled center that cleans your dog’s teeth as they munch away. For cats, consider using Kit Cat Breath Bites which specifically designed to clean your cat’s teeth as they chew, and are available in 6 different flavors depending on your kitty’s preference.
Sometimes treats can get messy, smell or leave residue. If you’re looking for a “cleaner” way for your pet to clean their teeth while chewing, then dental chew toys are the best choice. We carry a wide range of chew toys for dogs that encourage healthy dental practices. For example; the Kong Dental Stick which is designed with special grooves that clean your dog’s teeth as they chew, or the Gigwi Toothbrush Stick that has bristles and bumps much like a toothbrush, which also provides your dog with a thorough cleaning while chewing. Cats can also make use of chew toys to clean their teeth. The Gigwi Dental Mesh is made with a mesh fabric that helps clean debris from between your cat’s teeth and is also filled with catnip to entice them into playing with it as well!
Bones For Dogs
Like chewy dog treats, chewing bones is an excellent way for your dog to practice a more natural form of dental hygiene. Chewing on bones helps to clean and reduce plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth. Avoid cooked bones though as those tend to splinter when chewed and can be a health hazard for your pup. It’s best to only use bones that are specifically made for your dogs to chew on safely. For example, Alpha Spirit Vacuumed Ham Bones, which come in 4 sizes for your dogs. Another option would be the JR Natu Tripe Bones which are also long-lasting whilst beneficial for your dog’s teeth and gums!
Teeth scaling is a deep dental cleaning that requires your pet to be put under anesthetic. It’s effective for deep cleans, and allows for vets to get into and clean the spots that pet parents can’t reach with a toothbrush. Teeth scaling removes plaque, tartar, and can sometimes also reveal teeth that may require extraction as well. Due to the fact that teeth scaling requires a full anesthetic, it’s not recommended to be done too often, as the anesthesia can affect your fur-babies liver & kidneys. For pets over the age of 6, it might be best to do a blood test first, to ensure that the procedure is safe and they will be unaffected.
The best type of food that encourages healthy dental practices for pets is dry kibble. Chewing on dry food removes tartar and plaque while your pet eats. Acidic foods or certain wet foods may stain your pet's teeth and build up tartar if given too much or exclusively. Wet food can often get into the gums or between your pets teeth unnoticed as well which left uncleaned can cause future problems, such as rot or tooth decay. Wet food doesn’t need to be completely limited of course, but it is best to serve it to your pet either with their dry kibble or beforehand.
Dental dietary supplements are a great way to sneak in some extra dental care during your dog’s meals. Products like MyBeau Dental & Breath Oil Supplement, can be mixed into your pet’s kibble as a tasty treat and will clean your cat or dog’s teeth and freshen their breath while they have their dinner. Another option is to use the VetIQ Chewable Toothpaste which can be snuck into your pet’s meal or treats in order to trick them into cleaning their teeth.
Dental wipes are not the most effective for deep cleans, but they are ideal for quick teeth cleans. They are very easy to use on fussy pets, and will often be met with little resistance. There is also much less mess when using them, as no toothpaste is required. Consider using Earthbath Tooth & Gum Wipes as they provide a natural and quick method of keeping your pet’s teeth & gums clean and is a suitable option for all pet ages. If you’re looking for a tooth wipe that offers a bit more control and is a bit easier to get behind your pet's teeth, then the Vet's Best Teeth Cleaning Finger Pads is another alternative. You slip the pad over your finger and wipe clean your pet’s teeth and gums with that finger as if you’re using a toothbrush.
Regular Mouth Checks
If your pet is still experiencing issues with bad breath, despite practicing good dental hygiene, then it would be best to have them checked out by your local vet, as often bad breath can also be the indication of an underlying issue such as gum disease and renal or liver issues. Always have your vet check your pet’s teeth and gums during their annual checkup as well!