Smile! Just like their human companions, our pets need regular checks to make sure their teeth and gums are healthy. Following these simple tips can help your pet live a longer, healthier life.

Regular Check Ups:

Prevention can catch early signs of serious issues or disease. Veterinarians start checking your pet’s mouth on their first visit. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), as pets age, veterinarians will examine them for developmental anomalies, accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease, and oral tumors.  Catching any of these early can save on costly procedures down the line. 

Annual Cleanings:

Cats and small dogs should start seeing their vet for annual cleanings around the one year mark. Larger breed dogs can start at year two. It’s important to understand that these cleanings should be done under anesthesia to allow the vets to clean beneath the gum line. This also gives them the chance to identify any issues before they become problematic. For more facts on anesthesia and pet dental cleanings you can visit  American Veterinary Dental College to prepare for your visit.

Teeth Brushing:

Yep. Just like us, our dogs need daily teeth brushing. The younger you start the better, getting them used to your fingers in their mouths as soon as possible. Let’s face it though, life gets busy and just getting out the door some days is rough. While veterinarians recommend daily brushings, any time you can do this for your pet works. Keeping up on home brushings helps keep periodontal disease at bay and prevention is a lot better than costly and painful procedures down the line.

It can be a bonding experience but you have to be patient because it may take a while for your dog to get used to it. Constant positive reinforcement with treats they like right after always helps.

Here’s what we suggest for home teeth brushing: A pet toothbrush or baby toothbrush that is an appropriate size for your dog; if your dog won’t tolerate a toothbrush, a small piece of washcloth can be used. Always use toothpaste specifically designed for pets, NOT human toothpaste. Human toothpaste can contain Xylitol which is incredibly toxic to dogs. Check with your vet or on their online store for these toothbrushes and toothpastes. The good news is, once you get it down, it’s easy! You need only to brush the outside of your dog’s teeth (the side facing the cheek). Check out this slideshow to learn more!

‘Treats’ can Make it Fun!

It isn’t all vet appointments and sticking your hand in your pup’s mouth. Your vet more than likely carries all sorts of chews and treats for your pets that are meant to help with dental care. Check their online store or ask them at your next visit! Here are a few of our favorites: Greenies, Whimzees (come in toothbrush, alligator and hedgehog shapes, too cute), and Dentahex chews. C.E.T, the same company that makes the toothbrushes and toothpastes, sells dental treats as well!


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Sources:
AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. (2017, Jan). Retrieved from AAHA: https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/about_aaha/why_accreditation_matters/guidelines_position_statements/aaha_dental_care_guidelines_for_dogs_and_cats.aspx
Ahna Brutlag, D. M. (2010, Dec 13). Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs. Retrieved from VCA: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/xylitol-toxicity-in-dogs
Amy Flowers, D. (2016, March 18). WebMD: Healthy Pets- Are Your Dog's Teeth Healthy? Retrieved from WebMD: http://pets.webmd.com/healthy-dog-teeth-10/slideshow-brushing-dog-teeth
Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian about Pet Dental Cleanings. (2017). Retrieved from American Veterinary Dental College: http://avdc.org/AFD/questions-to-ask-your-veterinarian-about-pet-dental-cleanings/