Your pet counts on you for protection
You simply need to provide them with a few things:
- A nutritious diet
- Chew treats such as rawhide “bones”
- Regular brushing at home
- Yearly dental checkups by a veterinarian
Good dental health begins with the proper diet
Brushing your pet’s teeth
• Start by dipping a finger in beef stock for dogs.
• Rub this finger gently over your pet’s gums and one or two teeth.
• Repeat until your pet seems fairly comfortable with this activity.
• Gradually, introduce a gauze-covered finger and gently scrub the teeth with a circular motion.
• Then, you can begin to use a toothbrush, either an ultra-soft model designed for people or a special pet tooth-brush or finger brush, which is a rubber finger covering with a small brush built in at its tip.
• Finally, once your pet is used to brushing, introduce the use of pet toothpaste in liquid or paste form. Most of these contain chlorhexidine or stannous fluoride – ask your veterinarian for his recommendations. Don’t use human toothpaste, as it can upset your pet’s stomach. Your vet may also advise the use of an antiseptic spray or rinse after brushing.
Don’t forget a yearly dental checkup
He will give your pet a thorough examination of the entire oral cavity to determine whether there are any underlying problems and, especially important, tartar buildup. Brushing removes plaque but not tartar, so if your pet’s teeth do have tartar, your veterinarian will have to remove it with a professional cleaning and polishing, usually accomplished under anaesthesia. After removing the tartar above and below the gum line, your veterinarian may treat your pet’s teeth with fluoride and will provide you with instructions for home care and follow-up.
A few tips:
- Chew treats, including hard meat-protein biscuits and rawhide chews for dogs, can help remove plaque, and provide stimulation for the gums.
- Watch out for wood – throwing sticks to dogs or letting your cat pick up a piece of wood with their mouth can result in splinters and gum damage.
- Don’t let your pet chew on hard materials like bones or stones. They can wear down, even break teeth, damage gums and lead to infection.
A few statistics:
- Kittens have their first 26 “milk” or deciduous teeth at 2 to 3 weeks of age. Their 30 permanent teeth begin erupting around 3 months.
- Cats have the fewest teeth of any common domestic mammal.
- Puppies develop their deciduous teeth at 2 weeks of age, with their 42 permanent teeth starting to appear at 3 months.