By: Katherine Collins, Team Care Coordinator
“Leo! Your breath smells!” Haven’t all pet parents mumbled this phrase a time or two to their furry family members while accepting their kisses? Just like humans, every meal pets eat builds plaque and tartar over time causing unpleasant breath odor. Your pet’s teeth are similar to your own, requiring similar dental hygiene. In addition to regular dental exams and cleanings at the vet, your pet counts on you to make sure you supply their daily dental care—just as you provide your own oral hygiene every day.
To assist with the maintenance of pet dental hygiene at home, writer Alison Landis Stone offers important advice in a Healthy Pet Magazine article to help ensure pet plaque and tartar build up don’t cause costly dental repairs. Since dental disease is the most common disease in adult dogs and cats, these quick tips are essential for every pet’s dental care between regular exams and cleanings.
- Choose the Right Size Toothbrush
Pet toothbrushes come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on the size of your pet, you may need to adjust accordingly. If you can’t make it to the veterinarian to get a pet-specific toothbrush, use an American Dental Association (ADA) approved children’s soft bristle toothbrush.
- Pick the Correct Toothpaste
When selecting your pet’s toothpaste, purchase pet-specific toothpaste that contains chlorhexidine gluconate, a clinically proven antiseptic and antimicrobial, or enzymes such as glucose oxidase or lactoperoxidase, which possess antibacterial properties to decrease plaque. Never use toothpaste formulated for humans, as it can cause your pet to become sick.
- Select a Healthy Dental Diet
Considering your pet’s food brand, “look for one that carries the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance,” asserts Stone. The VOHC Seal of Acceptance guarantees the product has been tested and is clinically proven to help control tartar and plaque.
- Purchase Dental Chews
Dental chews are specially formulated with abrasive textures to help control plaque and tartar. Some chews even include sodium hexametaphosphate to specifically reduce tartar formation. Dental chews should last a while so be sure to watch your pet when you introduce a new dental chew to make sure your pet doesn’t swallow the chew whole or after one bite, claims Stone. Opt for dental chews instead of real bones, which can cause pet digestion problems and/or teeth damage.
In addition to these helpful dental care recommendations, other products such as oral rinses and sprays, water additives, and dental sealants may benefit your pet’s daily oral hygiene. Adding products to your pet’s regular routine can help control tartar and plaque and protect your pet’s dental health between veterinary visits.
To see what specific products Drs. Kahuda and Blackwood recommend, call or stop in and visit us. Our office is open from 7:30am to 5:30pm Monday through Friday. We are always here to share tips and tricks to help keep your furry family healthy!