A cat's teeth being brushed.

We brush our teeth twice a day, and the results of those efforts are definitely noticeable. Most of us wouldn’t dream of going an entire day (not to mention weeks, months, or years) without brushing, and we also benefit from regular cleanings, x-rays, and exams.

The same could be said for the benefits of dental care for our pets. And although applying these same principals to your pet could seem challenging at first, the health benefits to them are nothing short of astounding. 

With that in mind, The Bluffs Pet Clinic takes a deeper look into why pet home dental care is so important.

Dangers of Dental Disease in Pets

The sad truth is that by the time pets are three years old, over two-thirds of them have some form of dental disease. This can be in part due to genetics, but also is a result of a persistent lack of dental care. 

If plaque and tartar are allowed to accumulate on the teeth, bad breath will result—but that’s not all! Swollen, red, and bleeding gums, difficulty eating, and chronic pain as well as tooth loss are all the result of dental disease in pets. Even worse, bacteria from untreated dental disease can seep into the bloodstream, causing damage to the liver, heart, and kidneys. 

Fortunately, dental disease is preventable with at home dental care and regular dental exams and cleaning.

Your At-Home Arsenal

Toothbrush and toothpaste. Brushing your pet’s teeth is the single best way to fight plaque and tartar at home. Start with a pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste. Let us know if you need help in learning how to brush your pet’s teeth. Set a goal of brushing for 30 seconds on each side of your pet’s mouth once a day. Even adult animals can learn to enjoy this gentle attention. 

Dental diets. Ask us if your pet can benefit from one of the effective dental diets on the market. The kibble is designed to work with abrasive action to scrape plaque and tartar off the teeth. 

Dental chews and treats. These work in much the same way as the dental diets do. Some also contain enzymes to decrease the amount of tartar buildup. To be effective, dental chews and treats do need to be chewed for several minutes, not just gulped down. 

Water additives, sprays, and rinses. Ask your veterinarian if these products might be effective for your pet. 

Pet Home Dental Care

Chewing on objects harder than the tooth may cause tooth fractures. Pets should not be allowed to chew on the following, as they commonly cause fractures of the upper premolars: 

  • Ice
  • Rocks
  • Animal bones
  • Horse or cow hooves 
  • Antlers

Toys that seldom cause problems for teeth include rubber toys such as Nylabone and Kong products. Toys or treats that can be pulled apart and ingested warrant close supervision. A pet that ingests large pieces is at risk for a GI blockage or upset. 

Pet home dental care takes a commitment on your part, but the benefits are endless. WIth a little effort and information, you can give your pet a longer, healthier and happier life. We are here to support you in pet health, so if you have any questions or concerns please call us today.