Dental health- an important but often over looked part of keeping your pet healthy for years to come.
Are you interested in having your pet's teeth cleaned and want to learn more about how we do that? The video Lucky's Dilemma takes you through a typical dental procedure with Lucky- a sheltie with dental disease. To watch the video click here or find it under our resources link. We would be happy to help your pet maintain a healthy smile!
Good Dental Health Begins With The Proper Diet
The wrong kinds of food can cause dental distress in pets. Feeding your dog a dry food rather than a moist, canned one will, through its mild abrasive action on the teeth, help remove the bacterial plaque that can harden into tartar. Dry food also provides adequate chewing exercise and gum stimulation. Avoid giving your pet sweets and table scraps as they may also increase plaque and tartar formation. Your vet may recommend the use of special dry foods designed to reduce plaque and tartar buildup, especially if your pet is prone to dental problems due to his breed or individual genetic history.
Did You Know?
-Puppies develop their permanent teeth starting at 2 weeks of age with their 42 permanent teeth start to appear at 3 months.
-Kittens have their first 26 “milk” or deciduous teeth at 2 to 3 weeks of age. Their 30 permanent teeth begin erupting around 3 months.
-Cats have the fewest teeth of any common domestic mammal.
-Advanced dental disease with a lot of tartar build-up on the teeth can lead to heart disease!
Brushing Your Pet's Teeth
Dogs need to have their teeth brushed in order to eliminate the dental plaque that can cause tooth decay and the formation of tartar, which can lead to gum disease. You should begin a regular, daily brushing routine when your puppy is between six and eight weeks of age. Even older dogs 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 him profusely throughout the process and reward him with a very special treat when it’s finished. Here’s how it can be done:
• Start by dipping a finger in beef bouillon (dogs), tuna water (cats) or warm water.
• 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 toothbrush, either an ultra-soft model designed for people (baby tooth-brushes work well for cats) or a special pet tooth-brush or finger brush, which is a rubber finger covering with a small brush built in at its tip.
• Finally, once your pet is used to brushing, introduce the use of pet toothpaste in liquid or paste form. Don’t use human toothpaste, as it can upset your pet’s stomach and cause your cat to foam at the mouth. Your vet may also advise the use of an antiseptic spray or rinse after brushing.
A Few Dental Tips for at Home:
•Chew treats, including hard meat-protein biscuits and rawhide chews for dogs, can help remove plaque, and provide stimulation for the gums.
•Watch out for wood – throwing sticks to dogs 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 and lead to infection.
Don't Forget A Yearly Dental Checkup
Doing your best to ensure that your dog receives the proper diet and regular brushing at home will help maintain his or her teeth and gums in top condition. To provide optimum dental care at home, you need to start with a clean bill of dental health. That’s where your pet’s veterinarian comes in. He or she will give your pet a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity to determine whether there are any underlying problems or tartar buildup. Brushing removes plaque but not tartar, so if your pet’s teeth do have tartar, your veterinarian will have to remove it with a professional cleaning and polishing, usually accomplished under anesthesia. After removing the tartar above and below the gum line, your veterinarian may treat your pet’s teeth with fluoride and will provide you with instructions for home care and follow-up.