February is Pet Dental Health Month and it’s a good reminder to have your pet’s teeth and gums checked at least once a year by your veterinarian.
Built up tartar and plaque on the teeth can cause a lot of problems for our pets like bad breath, pain with eating, and even bacterial issues that can affect other areas of the body (kidneys, liver, etc.). Having your veterinarian check your dog and cats every year is extremely important as 80% of cats and dogs over the age of three suffer from dental disease.
Here are four steps you can take to help keep your pet’s teeth healthy.
- Speak with your veterinarian about dental diets that are specially designed to encourage chewing and fight off build up.
- Dental chews! These are great fun for our pets and don’t always have to be purchased at a vet clinic. Many products at your local pet store are supported by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). You just need to look for the VOHC seal on the bag.
- Teeth brushing. This can take some time and training. It is best to start at a young age, but that doesn’t mean our adult pets can’t learn. Using toothpaste especially made for your pet (available through your vet clinic or pet store), you can brush your pet’s teeth using a soft bristle tooth brush every day to support their dental hygiene.
- Water additives. There are products that can be added to your pets water bowl that help to fight plaque and tartar when they drink. These are especially useful for pets who are sensitive to handling and when brushing their teeth causes too much stress.