We’ve talked in the past about how dogs and cats can share some of the health concerns as humans, such as heart disease, obesity, and other hazards. But every night when you brush and floss your teeth before bed (right?), have you considered how your pet’s teeth are holding up? After all, unless they’re gnawing on your toothpaste tube–and let’s hope not!–there’s no way they’re going to handle a bit of oral hygiene on their own. Have you noticed your dog having particularly bad breath or your cat not eating as much as usual? That could be the sign of painful tooth decay or gum disease. Here are some steps you can take to help their pearly whites stay as healthy as your own.
First off, as with many potential pet health complications, if you’re concerned that their oral hygiene might be suffering, the vet can be your best initial resource. In fact, a dental checkup is something that should be performed once a year, alongside their other health inspections. Your vet can give your dog or cats a proper dental inspection, check for periodontal disease, and show you how to apply proper ongoing care–such as getting your pet comfortable with daily tooth brushing sessions.
The other big thing you can do is invest in a few dental care toys. That’s right. There are many toys in pet stores and online that are designed to help improve your pet’s oral care. These toys are made to scrape off plaque, massage gums, and freshen bad breath. There are some you can even slip some treats inside to encourage your pet to play with them more often, improving dental treatment while letting them have a bit of fun.
Lastly, take the time to learn the signs of potential bad dental health in your dog or cat, and check up on them yourself every so often. Symptoms can include the aforementioned bad breath, broken teeth, discolored teeth, reduced appetite or unwillingness to eat, and sensitivity around or bleeding within the mouth itself. If you see any of these, it’s best to have it checked out as soon as possible so it can be properly dealt with.
So, what’s your plan for taking care of your pet’s dental health? Of course, you can always continue to be a good example by maintaining your own at the same time!
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