Put Some Teeth Into Your Pet’s Dental Care
|Ask Your Veterinarian About Pet Dental Care
You are not alone in the fight against pet dental decay. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and look for dental problems. Your pet care professional can also recommend pet dental care products, food choices and appropriate chew toys. Then the two of you can work together to set a schedule for professional dental care based on the condition of your pet’s teeth, age and breed. With regular care you and your veterinarian can help your pet experience a lifetime of healthy teeth.
Fortunately there are many steps that can be taken to insure good oral health for pets. Most importantly, you can begin at home by brushing your pet’s teeth regularly, this means every day! Don’t use your toothpaste, it creates suds, which is ok for humans since we can rinse and spit. There are special pet toothbrushes you can use on pets and toothpastes that are ok for pets to swallow. It’s best to start when you first bring your puppy or kitten home, but even an older dog or cat can be taught to tolerate regular brushing. Chewing hard food and playing with hard toys can also help dislodge some of the plaque in your pet’s mouth, but make sure the chew toy is not too hard or your dog could fracture a tooth.
You should also be sure to make regular appointments with your veterinarian for dental care. Dental specialists recommend annual dental cleanings under anesthesia with your veterinarian. He will examine your pet’s teeth and may take x-rays to look for hidden lesions of dental decay, abscesses at the tip of the root, or retained roots from broken teeth. The doctor will remove accumulated plaque, clean and polish your pet’s teeth, and may apply fluoride or a protective sealant. In certain cases your veterinarian may need to perform dental surgery such as a root canal or extraction.
One sign that your pet may be having dental problems is bad breath. Other signs may include a disinterest in eating, drooling, loose teeth, pain when touched, inflamed or red gums, or bleeding. If you notice any of these signs in your pet, it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. But don't wait for these signs to develop, brush their teeth daily. With annual dental cleanings and treatments and regular brushing, you could prevent these symptoms!
Don’t ignore your pet’s teeth. Work together with your veterinarian to take the steps necessary to insure your pet keeps those pearly whites for a long time to come!
American Animal Hospital Association, Dental Care Guidelines
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