People and pets have many things in common, including dental care. Just like you, your dog or cat needs to have his teeth brushed. Just like you, your pet needs regular dental exams and cleanings. Northwood Veterinary Hospital in Northwood, NH, lists what you need to know about pet dental care.
Dry Food and Treats Will Not Clean Your Pet’s Teeth
Decades ago, it was thought that dry food and treats like hard dog biscuits were enough to scrape a pet’s teeth clean of the bacteria that causes plaque. Unfortunately, dry food and hard treats only scrape off a very small portion of your pet’s teeth. Only brushing and dental cleanings from your vet can effectively clean your pet’s teeth.
Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
Ideally, you would be able to brush your pet’s teeth every day. In reality, your pet may only let you brush a few teeth a day. This is still better than not brushing at all. You do not want to use force to brush your pet’s teeth. You want to make it a positive experience. If you do not know how to brush your pet’s teeth, ask your veterinarian for advice. You can also watch tutorials on YouTube.
Warning: Never Use Toothpaste Made for Humans
Never give your dog or cat the toothpaste you use for yourself. Pets do not like the taste of human toothpaste. More importantly, ingredients in human toothpaste can poison your pet. Only use toothpaste made for cats and dogs.
Dental Care Helps More than Teeth and Gums
Pets with periodontal disease not only get tooth pain, they often have problems with their hearts, livers, and kidneys. This is because the same bacteria in the mouth gets into the blood and travels to these organs.
The Importance of Dental Cleanings
Brushing is great at helping to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy, but it does not completely remove plaque from all areas of your pet’s teeth. This can only happen during a cat or dog teeth cleaning done by your veterinarian. Your pet can also get a thorough dental exam at this time. Since pets do not cooperate with dental cleanings, they need to go under general anesthesia for this routine procedure.
Signs of Dental Problems in Pets
Take your pet to our veterinarian when he shows these signs of tooth infection, tooth pain, or periodontal disease:
- Eats with the head titled to one side
- Drops food more than usual
- Drools more than usual
- Really bad breath
- Has blood coming from the mouth
- Has swelling around the mouth or in the gums
- Weight loss, despite being hungry all of the time
Still Have Questions?
If you have further questions about pet dental care and live in the Northwood, NH, area, contact Northwood Veterinary Hospital by emailing [email protected] or by calling(603) 942-8368 to make an appointment today.