14 May A Guide to Home Dental Care for Pets
Caring for our pet’s teeth is not unlike caring for our human teeth. By the age of three, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some form of periodontal disease. Starting with a clean slate is the best way to begin oral care. Whether you have just brought your pet home from the veterinarian after a routine COHAT (comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment) that includes a dental cleaning, dental radiographs and oral examination under anesthesia, or are welcoming a new puppy or kitten to the household, now is the time!
Twice daily brushing is the gold standard for in-home care. This is the most effective way to remove the bacterial biofilm that forms on our pet’s teeth within hours of having a professional cleaning done. Choosing a toothbrush is a great place to start. You should purchase different sizes to find out which works best for you and your pet and ensure it has soft bristles. You will want to add to your regimen an enzymatic pet toothpaste. There are many brands and flavors to choose from. Be sure it is specifically designed for pets and says enzymatic. It may be trial by flavor to find which one your pet likes the best.
If this is the first time brushing your pet’s teeth, start slow. Don’t give up and be patient with yourself and your pet. Make this a fun time! We at Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery love to do brushing demonstrations for our clients and are here to help.
Oral Rinses and Water Additives
Oral rinses are also a great choice for oral home care. They can be used in conjunction with brushing or as an alternative if brushing is too difficult. Chlorhexidine, zinc gluconate and Vitamin C are some of the active ingredients in oral rinses. You appy the rinse directly onto the pet’s gums with an angled applicator, with a squeeze bottle or even a cotton tip swab. These are semi-viscous in nature (not in a harmful way to your pet) and help rinse away the bacterial film that accumulates on the gum tissue. You can also supplement your pets water with certain additives as an alternative to direct application. They have minimal flavor and are generally undetectable, but some pets are sensitive and won’t drink the enhanced water. When used this way, they are less effective than applying directly to the mouth.
Dental wipes can help remove the bacterial biofilm to some extent but cannot get into the crevices like a toothbrush can. If you are just beginning to work with your young or rescue pet on oral care, wipes can be a great way to ease them into accepting the toothbrush. Dentacetic brand dental wipes contain plaque fighting ingredients that are proven safe and effective.
Dental Diets and Chews
Feeding our pets is a big part of their day. What a great way to help clean their teeth with no muss or fuss! Purina Dental Diet, Science Diet Healthy Advantage Oral + and Royal Canin Dental Diet are made especially for our pets to help decrease the tartar and plaque buildup. These are nutritionally balanced and well-liked by most dogs and cats.
Some dental chews contain plaque fighting ingredients along with a chewing action to decrease plaque. Not all dental chews are created equal, however. Some are too hard and can fracture your pet’s teeth. The doctors at Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery highly recommend CET Hextra Chews for pets. For a list of other recommended chews that are safe and effective, visit www.vohc.org.
Vet Dentist in Colorado Springs
With so many options for pet oral health, pick one or more that work best for your lifestyle and your pet. Our Certified Veterinary Technicians are happy to help you work through any or all the above products and how to use them. If your pet already has active dental disease, gingivitis or loose teeth, at-home care may be painful and we do not recommend continuing until your pet has been examined by a veterinarian. Home dental care should not be painful. It should be a positive bonding experience between you and your beloved pet.
Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery in Colorado Springs is passionate about supporting our canine and feline community and wants to save as many pet teeth as we can! We are more than happy to help our pet caretakers with demonstrations on how to perform at-home dental care for their beloved pets. Give us a call today!