Top dental care tips for cats and dogs

Top dental tips                             

Did you know that adult dogs have 42 teeth and adult cats have 30? That’s a lot of gnashers to keep clean! Making sure your pet has good dental hygiene is important as neglected teeth can cause gum related diseases later in life.   We take a look at the top dental care tips for cats and dogs to help you keep your pet’s teeth healthy.

Poor dental health signs to look out for:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Sensitivity around the mouth
  • Difficulty in chewing food – sometimes combined with “chattering” of teeth when trying to eat
  • Loose teeth
  • Bleeding or inflamed gums
  • Creamy/brown Tartar build up on teeth
  • Increased drooling (in cats)
  • Loss of appetite

Together with a regular home-based dental regime, specialist oral products and an annual check in with your vet, it’s possible to help your pets have healthy, pain-free teeth and mouths.

At home dental routines

Tooth brushing: Just like us, brushing your pet’s teeth is the most effective way of removing plaque. Animal toothbrushes have been specifically designed to contain soft bristles and shaped to fit your pet’s mouth. It’s best to start brushing your pet’s teeth from an early age. Finger brushes are a good option to help familiarise your puppy or kitten with the sensation of brushing. Once your pet has become used to the brushing, you should aim to brush your pet’s teeth every day and look to replace toothbrushes every 4 to 6 weeks.

Brushing tips:

  1. Take it slowly – there’s no need to rush, ultimately you’re aiming for a stress-free time for both of you.
  2. Make the touching of their mouth something familiar  – Settle down somewhere comfortable. Try to gently rub one or two teeth or gums at the same time. Build this approach up slowly and after a few sessions, your pet should start to look forward to this and you can move up to the next stage.
  3. Arm yourself with pet toothpaste –  To help the job be that much easier, specific pet toothpastes* are not only made out of all the correct ingredients, designed for pets, they are flavoured too, which will help entice and encourage your pet to allow you to touch their teeth. *NEVER use human toothpastes or mouth rinses on your pet as they contain unsuitable ingredients which are not designed to be swallowed and they are unable to spit out. 
  4. Brush the outside of the top set of teeth – always brush down away from the gums so that any food items are pushed out of the mouth.
  5. Repeat on the bottom jawline – brushing up away from the lower gum line.
  6. Gradually increase the number of teeth brushed – you may only be able to do a couple of front teeth at first. Once your pet relaxes and looks forward to the tasty toothpaste, you can add more teeth into your routine.
  7. No need to rinse – the pet toothpaste is designed to be eaten. Simply ensure your pet has access to fresh water afterwards.

Oral rinses and gels: Some pets will resist regular tooth brushing. If you find brushing is too stressful for them, oral rinses and gels are an easier alternative and can help slow down the build-up of plaque.

vet aquadent

Dental chews and bespoke dental food: If want to keep your pet’s teeth clean without them even realising, chews and dental food are great for daily dental protection and freshening breath. Remember some dental chews are high in calories, reduce your dog’s normal food intake accordingly so that they don’t put on weight.

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Regular oral health check-ups with your vet

Once your pet is over 3 years of age, it’s advisable to book regular oral health check-ups with your vet. If a dental clean-up is required, they may suggest carrying out some pre-dental checks just to establish the overall health of your pet prior to booking in the procedure. The treatment will be similar to humans – tartar removal, checking for cavities, gingival (gum) pockets and removal of loose teeth.

Toys to help with good oral hygiene

Hard rubber chew toys with small bumps on will clean your pet’s teeth as they chew, helping to dislodge any food that may be residing in between. Chewing on these toys will also help to strengthen your pet’s teeth and gums.

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