Dental hygiene for our pets
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
We all learn from a young age to brush our teeth three times a day to avoid getting cavities. And when we are older we do it more knowingly to avoid plaque and gum problems. But when we have a pet, what do we do? Many pet owners forget the fact that their pets also have teeth to look after, and only visit the vet when they find a problem like bad breath, or when they stop eating due to the pain of inflamed gums.
When we find ourselves faced with these problems the vet will recommend performing a teeth clean to remove the plaque present, clean their teeth and examine the gums. But if the problem is greater, they may have to remove the teeth that are causing it, and our pets teeth are very important for them.
Although it is good to have their teeth cleaned by a vet, this implies sedating your pet, and while it is very safe, it is best to hold off as long as possible. For that reason we should keep their teeth as healthy and clean as we can at home.
Taking care of their teeth at home avoids, or at the very least slows down, the formation of plaque. The best thing to do is brush their teeth daily, but we know that this is not always possible. That’s why teaching them from a young age makes them easier to handle, both at home and at the vets. If even then, you struggle to brush their teeth, there are alternatives, such as the use of xylitol (use with care in cats), chlorhexidine or fluoride solutions, which also tend to include different enzymes which act as an antiseptic, and also as calcium chelators. There are also powders made from seaweed which help eliminate plaque, bad breath and are very practical, as you only have to sprinkle them on top of their food.
Lastly, and the one they are going to like the most are toys and treats which come in different shapes and sizes so our pets can have fun at the same time they are looking after their teeth.
Remember, our pet is another member of our family and we need to look after their teeth daily just like our own. And don’t forget to get their teeth checked yearly at your vet so that they always have a healthy and pretty smile.