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Dental Care for your Pets

Have you ever taken your cat or dog to the dentist? It might sound funny, but just like you your pet’s dental wellbeing is a very important part of his overall health.

Your pet might already have dental health issues. The ASPCA lists these signs as warnings that your pet has dental health problems:

Cats:

  • A dark red line along the gums
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Ulcers on gums or tongue
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Excessive drooling and/or pawing at the mouth area
  • Abnormally bad breath

Dogs:

  • Abnormally bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Inflamed gums
  • Tumors in the gums
  • Cysts under the tongue
  • Loose teeth

 

If you cat or dog has one or more of these signs contact your vet.

Brushing your Pet’s Teeth

One of the best things you can do for your pet’s long term health is regularly brush their teeth. It won’t be easy but here are some tips to help you through it.

What you’ll need:

If you’re going to brush your pet’s teeth you’ll need the following:

Cats:

  • Cat tooth-brushing kit or cotton swabs
  • Feline formula toothpaste or salt water

Dogs:

  • Dog tooth-brushing kit or a piece of gauze
  • Canine formula toothpaste or water and baking soda

Never use human toothpaste of your pet. You can also ask your vet to recommend tooth-cleaning supplies.

Tips:
  • Start early – the younger your pet is when you start brushing her teeth the sooner she’ll become used to it
  • Start slowly – prep your pet before you put a tooth brush in his mouth, see the next section
  • Be consistent – try to keep a schedule so your pet comes to expect tooth-brushing time. Vets recommend brushing several times a week
  • Remain calm – if you’re stressed your pet will be stressed. Be calm and talk in a soothing voice
  • Use rewards – make sure to reward your pet with treats and affection for a job well done
  • Use pet foods and treats that help with dental care. Kibble type food is typically more tooth-friendly that wet or canned food. You can check out the Veterinary Oral Health Council website for recommended treats and foods and you can always check with your vet: http://www.vohc.org/accepted_products.htm
Brushing:

The ASPCA recommends the following steps for brushing both cat and dog teeth:

  1. Get your pet used to the idea of having their mouth/muzzle area touched. Spend a little time every day gently messaging their mouth/muzzle area with your fingers. Once your pet seems comfortable with that you can do the same using your finger on your pet’s gums. You will have to do this once or twice a day for a couple of weeks
  2. Put a little of the pet toothpaste on your pet’s lips so he can get used to the taste
  3. Once you and your pet are ready, introduce a tooth brush designed for pet. For cats you can use a cotton swab and for dogs you can use a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger instead of a pet tooth brush
  4. Apply toothpaste to the brush and gently brush your pet’s teeth. Don’t worry about getting all their teeth in a single sitting. If you pet starts to squirm let her go – finish the rest of her teeth during the next sitting
    • Brushing Technique (applies more to dogs than to cats):
      • Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the teeth
      • Use small, gentle circular motions to clean teeth
      • When finishing up use downward strokes from the gums to remove tartar and plaque buildup from the gum line
      • Don’t worry too much about the inner side of your pet’s teeth – most of the tartar and plaque buildup is on the outside. You can brush the inner side once your pet becomes more comfortable with brushing

Free Poop Bags!

Want free poop bags? Enter our Pet Smile Photo Contest! It’s easy to enter, just follow these 2 steps:

  1. Post a picture of your pet’s smile on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DoonGo
  2. Email your picture to [email protected] so we can contact you if you win! Make sure you tell us your pet’s name, age, and breed if you know it!

Contest deadline to post and email photos is 11:55pm on February 22, 2015.   You must email your picture to [email protected] to be considered entered into the contest. For more details or to ask questions email us at [email protected] J

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Looking for More?

Looking for more information? Check out the resources used to make write this blog:

ASPCA:

Cesar’s Way:

Animal Planet:

Pet MD:

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