With your help, your pets can have healthy teeth and gums throughout their lives. All you need to do is provide them with a few things:
Yearly dental check-ups by a veterinary surgeon
Dental examinations once a year by your vet is very important for your pet’s health. A thorough examination of the entire oral cavity will need to be done to determine whether there are any underlying problems. It may include an X-ray, which allows your vet to look below the gum line, where gum disease hides. A general anesthesia is necessary so that your vet can check for pockets around your pet’s teeth, remove tartar above and below the gum line, and take out dead tissue.
A nutritious diet
Your veterinary surgeon may recommend the use of special dry foods designed to reduce plaque and tartar build-up, especially if your pet is prone to dental problems due to breed or individual genetic history. This may mean feeding your pet foods with additives that help keep plaque from hardening, or dried foods that help scrub your pet’s teeth as he chews.
Avoid giving your pet sweets and table scraps as they may also increase plaque and tartar formation.
Another way to keep your pet’s mouth in top form is to give them safe toys to chew every day. Go for rubbery toys, Chew treats, including hard meat-protein biscuits and rawhide chews for dogs, these can help remove plaque, and provide stimulation for the gums.
Watch out for wood – throwing sticks for dogs or letting your cat pick up a piece of wood with his/her mouth can result in splinters and gum damage.
Don’t let your pet chew on hard materials like bones or stones. They can wear down; even break teeth, damage gums which can lead to infection.
Regular brushing at home
Cleaning your dog or cat’s teeth every day is a great way to prevent or slow the progression of oral diseases and not to mention bad breath.
All you need is some pet toothpaste (which is available at most animal Hospitals or Vetshops), and a pet toothbrush (brushes made for humans are too big for most small pet’s mouths.) Finger toothbrushes can be easier to work with and better to navigate around the mouth to reach those tough spots, but if you are concerned about having you finger to close to those sharp teeth, then use the soft bristled double side toothbrush. This toothbrush will give you a bit of distance and will still get the job done just as well.
NEVER brush your pet’s teeth with human toothpaste – it can make your pet sick! The same goes for oral rinses. Ask your Vet for the best product on the pet market.
You should begin a regular, daily brushing routine when your pet is between six and eight weeks of age. Even older pets can be trained to accept having their teeth brushed. You simply need to introduce the activity gradually and make the experience a positive one for your pet. Reassure and praise them profusely throughout the process and reward him with a very special treat when it’s finished.
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Here’s how it can be done:
• Start by dipping a finger in beef paste.
• Rub this finger gently over your pet’s gums and one or two teeth.
• Repeat until your pet seems fairly comfortable with this activity.
• Gradually, introduce a gauze-covered finger and gently scrub the teeth with a circular motion.
• Then, you can begin to use a special pet tooth-brush or finger brush, which is a rubber finger covering with a small brush built in at its tip.
Try brushing your pets teeth a minimum of twice a week, this way you will help keep up good dental hygiene. Remember to ask you Veterinarian for advice on how to brush correctly and what products to use.