When it comes to dental care, your dog or cat needs to have good oral hygiene just like you. Mouth problems like gum disease can lead to more health problems, so it’s best to get preventive care to be sure a pet’s mouth is healthy. In fact, oral disease is the number one health problem diagnosed in small animals. We recommend a four-step program to greater health for your pet.
STEP ONE: ANNUAL EXAM
It begins with an annual oral examination by your veterinarian. A dental exam and cleaning (dental prophylaxis) may be required, including removal of plaque above and below the gum line; polishing; and fluoride
treatment. Problems in their early stages can be diagnosed and treated. Many dogs age four and older may need to be examined more frequently.
STEP TWO: DAILY BRUSHING
This is why you’ve got opposable thumbs and your pet doesn’t. Buy a special pet toothbrush and toothpaste and do what’s right – brush their teeth daily. Start when they’re young to get them used to it, but it’s never too late to begin proper home dental care. Reward the animal with a treat; they’ll associate it with the brushing and won’t resist as much.
STEP THREE: CHOOSING THE RIGHT FOOD
Next, address your pet’s diet. Look for the “Seal of Acceptance of the Veterinary Oral Health Council” on foods to determine if they meet standards for plaque and tartar control. Dog biscuits will remove some plaque but cannot clean below the gum line and will not prevent periodontal disease. They’re no substitute for daily brushing.
STEP FOUR: REGULAR CHECKUPS
Regular checkups are imperative to ensure good oral health. Your veterinarian will monitor your pet’s progress and look for any signs of advanced stages of bacterial spreading as we described above. Stick to this simple four-step plan and keep your pet’s pearly whites shining.