There’s nothing better than a great pet smile!
The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) has declared February National Pet Dental Health Month, a great time to be reminded about our pets dental health.
In reality, every month should be dental health month! Why? Because a lack of proper dental care can lead to many health risks for our cats and dogs, which is why it’s important to have your vet check your pets’ teeth at each visit.
But what can you do to keep your pets teeth healthy and clean in between visits? Below we’ve got several great suggestions to check and care for your dog or cat’s teeth all in the comfort of your own home.
1. Check out those gums!
You can frequently check your pet’s gums right at home. With your dog or cat facing you, gently push back his or her lips and take a look. Your pets’ gums should be firm and pink, not white or red, and should show no signs of swelling (not that different from us humans). The teeth should be clean and free of any brownish tartar. And this is a great opportunity to check for broken or loose teeth. Remember if you find something suspicious have your vet check it out!
2. Good breath, bad breath?
Take a whiff of your dog or cat’s breath. While the smell doesn’t need to be aromatic, it shouldn’t be offensive or off-putting either. If your dog or cat’s mouth has an abnormally strong odor, your pet might have a gum condition such as gingivitis, and should be examined by a vet.
3. Watch for symptoms of teeth, mouth and gum problems.
If you see any of the below symptoms, there could be a dental, gum or mouth issue in your cat or dog’s mouth to have your vet check out immediately:
• Dark red line along the gums
• Ulcers on gums or tongue
• Loose teeth
• Pus or extreme salivation
• Excessive drooling
• Excessive pawing at the mouth area
4. Learn how to brush your dog or cat’s teeth, it’s easier than you think!
It’s important to brush your dog or cat’s teeth on a regular basis, hopefully at least three times a week. A soft-bristled toothbrush should be used to clean your pet’s teeth daily to remove any food particles and prevent the build-up of tartar and plaque deposits. Make sure to only use toothpaste that is specially formulated for pets and not our human toothpaste! And look into a variety of pet toothbrushes to find one that your pet will feel most comfortable with.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a happier, healthier pet!