Pet Dental Health
We pamper their skin, trim their nails, and make sure to feed them a nutritious diet for strong bones and good digestion, but what about their teeth? In honor of Pet Dental Health month, Southbridge Veterinary Hospital would like to share with you some quick and easy tips on how to keep your furry friend’s smile a little brighter!
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, “80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age three.” Unfortunately, having bad breath isn’t the only issue when dealing with poor dental health. The kidneys, lungs, and even heart can all have serious health problems caused by dental disease.
Still feeling a little apprehensive about buying Fluffy a toothbrush? A proactive approach to dental care is the best approach! Most dogs and cats, with a little patience and a lot of love, will accept the idea of having their teeth brushed- especially with chicken or tuna flavored paste. Never use baking soda or human toothpaste, as fluoride is toxic to pets. Start slow by just putting a little pet toothpaste on your finger. Praise and reward for cooperative behavior. Gradually you can work your way up to a soft bristled tooth brush or small pet toothbrush. It is important to focus on the gum line as this is where the plaque builds up and begins to cause problems. The entire process should only take a minute or two. A quick brushing is better than no brushing.
In addition to regular brushing, annual exams are very important. This gives the doctor a chance to monitor the teeth for possible infection, loose teeth, and any unusual growths. Even with consistent teeth brushing and care, routine dental cleanings under general anesthesia are recommended. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact Southbridge Veterinary Hospital at 508-765-1144.
Remember, our pets can live longer, healthier lives if oral health care is managed and maintained throughout their lives.