It’s common knowledge that practicing good dental hygiene is extremely important for humans, but did you know that it’s important for pet safety as well? As crazy as it may sound, dental care for your dog or cat by brushing your cat or dog’s teeth can help provide a better quality of life for your pet and making sure they’re eating well with a balanced diet is just as important for their lifestyle as it would be for you to have a balanced diet. You don’t want your pet to suffer, but if their oral hygiene is neglected, your pet could have infected gums, rotting teeth, and other things that make them truly miserable. Bad breath is certainly an indicator that your pet might have something wrong with their teeth, but as part of caring for your pet, you should be bringing your pet into the vet clinic regularly for check-ups, where worrisome things like this can be caught early.
Cats and Dogs Can Really Have Dental Disease?
Although it may sound ludicrous to you, it’s true. Dental care for your dog or cat is incredibly important. By the time 80% of dogs are three years old, they have periodontal disease, and by the time 70% of cats are three years old, they also have it as well. Dogs have 42 teeth and cats have 30, so there’s plenty of opportunity for periodontal disease to take root. The vet should be thoroughly examining your pet’s teeth at least once a year and after the age of seven, they should be getting their mouths checked twice a year. It’s also important to note that your pet may not readily display signs of pain or discomfort. If they were in the wild, acting weak or ill could cause them to be targeted as easy prey or be abandoned. Although that’s not a threat as a pet, evolution still makes that instinct kick in.
What Can I Do To Keep My Pet’s Teeth Healthy?
Even though vets try to emphasize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth and keep their oral hygiene up, around 65% of pet owners don’t bother to brush their pet’s teeth. However, brushing is an extremely effective measure. You can get 90% of the surface of your pet’s teeth with a good brushing. (Luckily, flossing isn’t necessary!) If brushing your pet’s teeth sounds like it would take too much time (and grosses you out) there are other measures you can take to keep up dental care for your dog or cat.
There are gels or rinses you can also have your pet take and certain diet foods or chews that are more palatable for your pet. Certain chew treats can also help keep dogs’ teeth healthy, but they have to chew every day, so be sure you get a toy that your pet really enjoys. Since cats can be less willing than dogs to put up with you poking around in their mouths, a combination of dental-friendly foods and rinses might be a better way to keeping their oral hygiene on par.
A healthy diet can also help your pet. If you give your pet treats, they shouldn’t account for more than 10% of their daily calories for improved oral hygiene and other dietary reasons.
Will Pets Let Me Brush Their Teeth?
Although you might face some resistance at first, if you’re gentle and patient, it’s likely your pet will come around to it eventually, especially if you add incentives. For example, if you reward them with a treat, a walk, or another activity they enjoy directly afterwards, they’ll be more likely to relate it to a good experience, instead of a bad one. You can always talk to your vet for tips and tricks. The key is certainly to go slow and be patient with your pet, since they don’t understand why it’s happening.
Dental care for your dog or cat shouldn’t be taken lightly, since it can cause them pain and suffering that could easily be avoided with a few simple measures. Be sure dental care for pets is high on your priority list!
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