Did you know February is Pet Dental Health Month?
Your pet’s teeth are a window to their overall health. Gum disease is, in fact, one of the biggest indicators of serious health issues to come. You’ve got enough to worry about without constantly thinking about your pet’s teeth. Which three things are key to ensuring your pet’s mouth stays healthy?
1. Brush Consistently
Look, you know you’re supposed to be brushing your pet’s teeth on a daily basis. Life sometimes gets in the way, but remember that consistent brushing is almost just as good as brushing every day. Don’t stop brushing altogether just because you miss a day. Or two. Or three.
Brushing your pet’s teeth removes plaque which can lead to gingivitis. It decreases the chances you’ll have to have to have any teeth extracted as your pet ages, which can be uncomfortable and expensive. Most of all, brushing helps prevent gum disease which is a reliable precursor to heart disease and other serious conditions.
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2. See the Vet
Your vet has seen a lot (a lot) of teeth problems. An annual visit with your veterinarian ensures your pet’s teeth are comprehensively evaluated for the early signs of gum disease. The earlier it’s detected, the easier it is to treat!
It’s also important to have your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned every few years. Your veterinarian will let you know when it’s time, but most vets recommend professional cleanings every 1-3 years. The more consistent you are about brushing your pet’s teeth, the less frequently they’ll need to be cleaned!
3. Choose Your Chews
There are a lot – too many! – “dental” products for pets on the market. From chews to treats to toys, you can’t shake a stick in a pet store without hitting some item that claims to make your pet’s teeth healthier. But which are best?
It’s always best to ask your vet to give you their recommendations for dental products; they’ve seen them all. When in doubt, look for the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) seal. Also check for ingredients like chlorhexidine gluconate, zinc, and vitamin C, which are known to prevent things like bacterial growth and inflammation.
Always steer clear of anything that looks like it would be harsh, painful, or damaging to your pet’s mouth when chewed.