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Dartmouth Vet Hospital: 5 Ways to Improve Pet Dental Health

dental-healthWhat if you could do five things today to help improve your pet’s health? Canine dental care and feline dental care is directly responsible for the continued health of your pet in more ways than most pet owners realize. Professional cleanings and dental care for pets can be provided at your local Dartmouth vet hospital, but there are things that you can do right now at home that will also make a difference in between veterinary visits.

Staying on top of your pet’s dental health will help to increase life expectancy, provide many more years of healthy living and decrease chances of developing certain diseases. Many people just don’t think about oral care and treatments for pets, however both canine dental care for dogs and feline dental care for cats, can be very beneficial. Simple things, such as regularly brushing your pet’s teeth, offering healthy food choices and encouraging the use of chew toys and other dental items can help, in addition to professional dental cleanings.

Method #1 – Do Regular Inspections
Did you know that many dogs exhibit signs of gum disease by the age of four, simply because they haven’t received proper dental care for pets? You can avoid that by doing regular home checks and taking your pet to the veterinarian for annual check-ups. You want to check your pet’s breath, do a “lip lift” exam and learn the signs of oral disease. Check with your veterinarian at Dartmouth vet hospital for even more tips on checking your pet regularly for early warning signs and symptoms.

  • Breath – Dog and cat breath isn’t ever a good thing, but if your pet’s breath is particularly strong or offensive and your pet is also having issues with excessive drinking, urinating, vomiting or has a loss of appetite, you should bring them to the vet for an exam.
  • The “Lip Lift” – This exam involves lifting your pet’s lips to check the teeth and gums. Check for good coloring, signs of swelling and clean teeth without brownish tartar. Again, your vet can show you what to look for when you go for your annual check-up.
  • Signs of Oral Disease – Some of the things that veterinarians look for when checking your pet’s mouth include any loose teeth, excessive bad breath, excessive drooling, gums that are inflamed or swollen, tumors in the gums and any cysts located underneath the tongue.

Method #2 – Know What Causes Tooth Decay
Anyone who has ever experienced a dental problem first hand, knows the importance of preventing tooth decay. Understanding what causes it in the first place can go a long way toward stopping it before it even gets started. Bacteria and foods that help to form plaque are what cause a build-up on your dog’s teeth. When plaque hardens it becomes tartar, which can lead to receding gums, serious diseases like gingivitis and tooth loss. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly and getting professional cleanings at your Dartmouth vet hospital are some of the best things you can do to provide quality dental care for pets. Ask your vet about canine dental care and feline dental care treatment options.

Method #3 – Learn How to Brush Properly
As you might have guessed, brushing your cat’s or dog’s teeth will be very different from how you care for your own oral health. Toothbrushes and mouth cleaning kits made especially for canine dental care and feline dental care can be purchased through your vet or at a pet supply store. Toothpaste that is made especially for pets should always be used – never toothpaste that is made for humans. Never use toothpaste that contains fluoride for dogs under six months of age because it can cause problems for the formation of protective enamel.

  • Getting Started – Begin by getting your pet used to having is teeth brushed. Begin with a 30-60 second brushing once or twice each day for a couple of weeks until he gets comfortable with the process.
  • Start Using Toothpaste – Once your pet is comfortable with brushing, begin to add toothpaste that is formulated for dogs or cats. Remember that this will also be new, so your pet will need to have some time to get used to the taste.
  • Proper Toothbrush Use – There are techniques that should be used to get a proper cleaning. The toothbrush should be held at a 45-degree angle and cleaning should happen in small, circular motions. Start with one section at a time and just work your way around.

Method #4 – Feed a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet with plenty of crunchy foods can help to reduce the need for extreme dental care for pets in the long run. If you aren’t sure what brand or formula of pet food is best for your cat or dog, speak with your Dartmouth vet hospital veterinarian for advice. Avoid giving your pet table scraps or excessive amounts of treats, all of which can lead to the formation of bacteria and a build-up of tartar.

Method #5 – Chew Toys Can Help
While dogs enjoy chew toys more than cats, there are specially made toys for both types of pets that can be used to help increase strength in teeth and gums, while also working to scrape away tartar. Toxin-free toys, such as rawhide, nylon and rubber, can all help your pet in this way. Chewing on toys also helps to prevent boredom, reduce stress and give your pet a natural and safe outlet for his chewing urges.

Call Anchor Animal Hospital for More Tips!
If you want to learn more about canine dental care or feline dental care, contact Anchor Animal Hospital for a veterinary check-up or to get more tips that will help you with dental care for pets. Our team of highly trained and experienced veterinary staff can assist you in providing your dogs and cats with the best possible dental care available in the South Coast area. Call today at 508-996-3731 to schedule an appointment or to speak with one of our veterinary team members.