Pet Calendar: Pet Dental Health MonthLarry Kay
By Robbi Hess ~ Managing Editor Pet Calendar, Crimeless Cat Executive Story Editor, Chief Cat Herder
February is Pet Dental Health Month and pet parents understand that their pet’s dental health is as important as their own dental health. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body and if your mouth is healthy, your body just might be healthier as well. As pet parents it’s our responsibility to assure our cats, dogs and other pets have healthy mouths and kissable breath!
What can you do to assure your dog or cat has a healthy mouth and teeth? Here are a few things you should be aware of and how you can help your pet be as healthy in body and mouth as she can be.
- Schedule a dental check-up with your veterinarian. This is typically a part of your pet’s annual check-up, but if you notice a build up of tartar on her teeth or if you notice a change in the smell of her breath, you may want to call your vet and schedule a dental examination. Your vet will be able to determine whether your dog or cat has an underlying health issue or whether it’s simply a dirty mouth that’s causing it. Bad breath can be caused by a specific dental issue like a decaying or abscessed tooth.
- What are your pets eating? Does your dog not only roll in dead items he finds, but eat them as well? If that’s the case, that could be the reason he has bad breath. Your pet’s diet can enhance or detract from his dental health. Feed a high quality food that provides some crunch to help clean teeth. If you’re not certain what food to feed, ask your vet for recommendations.
- Bones and dental treats. Feed your dog and cat a variety of treats designed to clean his teeth. Give your dog a bone to help remove tartar from his teeth. Look for dental treats designed to remove tartar and other build-up from your cat or dog’s teeth. Dental treats can be calorie laden and if your pet struggles with his weight, ask your vet for advice on whether you should cut back on his regular food intake to make up for the calories in the dental chew.
- Brush his teeth. The best way to keep your dog and cat’s breath fresh and more importantly, his teeth clean is by brushing his teeth. When you get a puppy and start brushing his teeth when he’s young, it will become part of your daily routine. If you have an older dog or cat who is not accustomed to having her teeth brushed you will want to start out by giving her a taste of cat- or doggie-specific toothpaste. Work up to rubbing some of the toothpaste onto his teeth with your finger or a finger brush. After she’s comfortable with the finger brushing, move up to a cat or dog toothbrush and get in the habit of brushing her teeth daily.
Do you brush your dog or cat’s teeth? Do you have any tips to share on how to make it easier?
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