As humans, most of us try and care for our teeth. That's because we now know more about the dangers that poor dental health can bring us, not to mention the excruciating pain that can accompany letting our teeth go. Even something as simple as allowing plaque and tartar to build up can lead to periodontal disease, something we would all want to avoid. As is the case with most health-related issues, prevention really is the best medicine, and this attitude should carry over to our pets.
Benefits of Maintaining Good Oral Health in Pets
Ensuring your pets have healthy teeth and gums have benefits for people, too. That's because various studies point to the conclusion that maintaining good oral health in pets can increase their lives by as much as five years, which is nothing to sneeze at. So while it's good for them, we can selfishly enjoy a much greater amount of time with them while also reaping the many rewards that medical science claims pets bring us — like lower blood pressure, lower depression levels and possibly greater heart health, just to name a few. All that aside, who wouldn't want a longer life span for pets?
Regular Dental Exams for Pets
It's crucial as a pet owner that you keep your animals up to date on dental examinations. If they are in good health and require no special visits, then ask your vet to do a thorough examination of your pet's mouth when you bring him or her in for their yearly checkup. While you're at it, schedule an appointment for a dental cleaning. This should be performed as often as your vet recommends. If you have an elderly pet or a brachycephalic animal that shouldn't be put under, there are anesthesia-free dental cleanings available.
Proper Diet for Dental Health
Overall health for any living creature begins with a good, healthy, nutritious diet. Not surprisingly, many dental issues arise from improper food and even malnutrition. Make sure that your pets are eating healthy food, drinking plenty of water, and that you're not relying solely upon dry kibble for scraping their teeth clean. There are plenty of products on the market that are specifically designed for the purpose of promoting good oral health in pets. If they're worth their salt, they should carry the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal of Acceptance for plaque and tartar control.
Brushing Your Pets' Teeth
Brushing your dog or cat's teeth is not for overprotective kooks and worry warts. It's actually recommended, especially as pets age. Some breeds of dogs are prone to dental decay far more often and at a far earlier age than others. If you know this about your dog, then brush their teeth regularly as a preventative. While it takes a lot of patience and a bit of practice, every other day use a small brush appropriate for the size of your pet's mouth and gently brush for approximately 30 seconds on each side of their mouth using pet-safe toothpaste. They come in flavors now.
Finally, if your pet is suffering from bad breath but his or her teeth appear to be alright, then it could be from stomach issues. Try putting your pet on probiotics. They come in pill, chew and powder form. For a more natural approach, try giving them a small amount of plain Greek yogurt or raw goat's milk every day. Within a week or so you should notice a marked improvement. If not, consult your vet.