Every February, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month to raise awareness of the importance of proper dental care for our furry best friends. While our St. Joseph dental office doesn’t treat these cuddly critters, we know a lot of our patients have pets, and we’d like to provide them tips on how to care for the furrier members of their families.
You know your dentist in St. Joseph encourages each and every patient to brush their teeth twice a day, every day. Now while it’s not necessary to brush your pet’s teeth that often, it is important that you do it occasionally. Typically brushing two to three times a week will do wonders in keeping their mouths healthy. While brushing your pet’s teeth may be a challenge at first, doing it regularly can help make it a routine. When you start, take a piece of gauze and a pet-friendly toothpaste to gently massage your pet’s teeth in tight circles. This small step can really help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. But good brushing doesn’t end there. You should take your pet to get a professional dental cleaning once a year for a thorough job.
We don’t necessarily mean that you let your pet take control of the house and nibble on anything he wants. But most vets do encourage you to let him chew on toys or treats specifically designed to help scrub away plaque. While bones may seem like the obvious choice, these tough treats can actually do more harm than good. In fact, chewing a hard bone increases the risk for dental damage. Instead, consider buying toys or treats that strengthen teeth, stimulate gums, and remove plaque and tartar. Whatever you and your vet choose, remember that brushing is still crucial for optimal oral health (this applies to you too!).
Just like humans, knowing the signs of a potential problem and seeking treatment sooner rather than later is key to successful treatment. What’s also similar between humans and animals are the signs of a dental concern. Keep an eye out for:
If you notice any of the above in your pet, call your vet. If you notice any in yourself, call your St. Joseph dentist.
Following the tips above and being open with your vet can help keep your pet’s teeth healthy for life. The same applies to you. Make sure to practice a proper oral health care routine and maintain regular visits at our dental office in St. Joseph.