February is Pet Dental Health Month! This is a very important topic, and is definitely something we want to shine a light on. Dental problems are much more common in pets than many people realize. Just as with people, these issues are very painful, and can lead to tooth loss, infections, and difficulty chewing and eating. A Roanoke, VA vet lists some tips on caring for your pet’s teeth in this article.
Pets can’t tell you if their mouths hurt, and the signs can be subtle. Keep an eye out for red flags. These include bad breath, tartar buildup, bleeding gums, drooling, dribbling food, and swelling. You may also notice changes in your furry friend’s mood and/or eating habits. For instance, Fido and Fluffy may chew on one side of their mouth. They may also not feel very playful.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is just as beneficial for them as brushing your own is for you. It helps clean away food particles, and helps keep plaque and tartar from forming. Training, of course, is the big hurdle here. Start small, by just rubbing your furry buddy’s teeth as you gently stroke and pet them. Once they’ve gotten used to that, you can work in a pet toothbrush and toothpaste.
Some pets are just too fidgety to accept having their teeth handled. If you’re having a hard time, ask your vet to recommend other dental products. There are some great ones out there! These include things like oral flakes, dental rinses, or dental formula treats and chews.
Keeping your four-legged friend properly hydrated is of course crucial to their survival, but it’s also very important to their oral health. Consider getting a pet drinking fountain: many animals prefer to drink running water.
Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, and it’s one that should be encouraged. Just make sure Fido is only gnawing on safe, suitable objects. Ask your vet for recommendations.
We recommend having your vet check your furry pal’s teeth annually, starting when they are about a year old. You’ll also need to make an appointment right away if you notice any of the warning signs we mentioned above.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Roanoke, VA animal clinic, anytime!