Since October is Dental Month at LazyPaw Animal Hospitals, I wanted to take a moment this week to talk about why dental care for pets is so important. Pet teeth cleaning is crucial to your animal’s well being in both the short and long term, and providing proper care to your pet will prevent painful long term problems.
Dry food does not clean your pet’s teeth.
Just because your animal eats only or mostly dry food does not mean their teeth are clean. Dry food still leaves a residue on teeth the same way eating a cracker leaves a residue on our human teeth. Dental toys are helpful, but still not a substitute for brushing or vet dental visits.
Brushing helps, but it doesn’t eliminate tartar and plaque completely.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is fantastic and will absolutely help with tartar and plaque buildup. However, just like people, pets need regular dental visits to professionally scrub and polish buildup away from the tooth’s surface.
How do I brush my pet’s teeth, anyway?
We’re glad you asked! Dr. Julaine Hunter has helpful video tutorials for how to brush your dog’s teeth and how to brush your cat’s teeth. For example, you should brush gently, brush all the way to the back of the mouth, and you don’t need to worry about brushing the inside of your animal’s teeth. Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth every day. Even older pets can learn to adjust to tooth brushing, but you have to be gentle and consistent.
Every pet is different.
Some humans are blessed with “good teeth” that hold up better over time, and animals are the same way. Your local vet clinic can examine your animal and let you know how often they will need regular cleanings, but the rule of thumb is once or twice a year.
Your pet’s health depends on good dental care.
Your pet could lose teeth to decay over time, but before that, periodontal disease can cause infections in tissue around teeth. This makes gums red, swollen, and bloody. Teeth will eventually become loose as the tissue dies, which will be painful for your pet.
At LazyPaw Animal Hospitals, every October and February we offer a special savings on pet dental care to encourage pet parents to bring their dog and cat in for regular dental cleaning. Trust us, after you see your pet’s before and after photos, you won’t want to skip a cleaning ever again!