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Dental Home Care

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Overview

Just like in humans, plaque, cavities, and halitosis are important dental concerns for pets. Without proper dental care you can expect your pet’s teeth and gums to deteriorate and your pet will run the risk of developing dental diseases. In fact, the most common disease in pets is actually periodontal disease and other common dental problems like broken teeth and cavities are prevalent. Bacteria from the mouth can actually spread to other areas and cause your pet to be ill. And, dental diseases in pets are much more difficult to indentify because your pet cannot complain about pain and its behaviour is not likely to change because of dental problems. While a human would be visibly uncomfortable if they suffer from a dental problem, a pet will not always show signs of a problem. Their diet is unlikely to change and pets will be more likely to adjust themselves to the chronic pain they may be suffering.


Maintaining Your Pet’s Dental Health

It is important to regularly inspect your pet’s teeth and gums. Firstly, you’ll want to look for red or inflamed gums, smell for foul breath, and look for pus along your pet’s gum line. If you notice any of these problems you should see a veterinarian immediately. Long term maintenance of your pet’s dental health will involve many of the activities required for long term human dental health. Regular check ups are important in combination with brushing. In addition, there are many pet treats that are specially designed to improve your pet’s dental health.

Regardless of whether we’re talking about humans or pets, dental care is essentially prevention. Keep in mind however that it is not recommended to start a dental program with a pet that has ongoing dental problems. Once the problems have been dealt with and your pet’s mouth is healthy, you should begin a preventative dental care plan. The most vigilant of pet owners will brush their pet’s teeth daily to remove plaque and prevent cavities. Still, most vets will recommend brushing your pet’s teeth at least 3 times weekly. When you first start a dental care program, you’ll want to introduce new activities slowly. Your pet will not be accustomed to having its teeth brushed and will not understand the behaviour. For this reason, you should begin slowly, softly, and cautiously so that your pet can grow comfortable with the activity. Also, it is recommended that you provide positive reinforcement to a pet who accepts the brushing easily. A solid pat or a treat should suffice.

If you have recently acquired a puppy or kitten, then it is important to start brushing early. Ideally, you should begin in the first 2 or 3 months of life. This helps them become used to brushing. Next, gently massage your pet’s mouth to expose its teeth. Wrap a piece of towel around the end of your finger and gently rub your pet’s teeth. Start with the front teeth and work your way to the back. Finally, introduce a soft tooth brush that is veterinarian recommended.

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