Brush Up on Your Pet’s Dental Health: Tips to Help Them Smile
More families than ever have a furry companion in their households and since 2020, nearly 1 out of 5 Americans brought home a new pet. To keep our pets healthy, we need to provide them with a high quality diet, fresh water, clean bedding, and help them get plenty of exercise. But did you know your pet’s dental health is related to their whole body health too? In honor of National Pet Dental Health Month, we have five tips to help keep your furry friends smiling and feeling their best!
- Diet is key
It’s a little known fact, but dogs and cats can get cavities just like us if they eat too many sweet treats. Healthy diets for hamsters are important too because without the proper nutrition to file down their ever-growing teeth, they can end up with mouth injuries or the inability to eat properly.
- Check toy safety
When buying toys, check for a stamp of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). They have guidelines to ensure toys aren’t too hard, bend and break easily, or could fracture your pet’s teeth. Examples of toys that can increase risk of tooth fracture or other health problems include antlers, real or synthetic bones, and raw hide.
- Homecare goals
Luckily, we don’t have to try to floss our pet’s teeth… but brushing them is important. We recommend pairing teeth brushing with something else that you do routinely with your pet. Just make sure you’re using an enzymatic pet toothpaste, not your own. Human toothpaste is dangerous for your pet.
- Routine examinations
- Consider pet insurance
Once a year, it’s recommended to have your vet complete an oral evaluation. The examination will begin while your pet is awake to identify any obvious signs of disease like fractures, red puffy gums, or plaque build-up on their teeth. Your vet may also recommend sedation to complete additional assessments like x-rays, gum measurements, and an oral cancer screening. These assessments may sound familiar to you because these are services provided to you during your dental visits as well!
Like dental insurance, pet insurance may be able to provide a discount for preventative services and treatments like dental cleanings and screenings. Plans vary greatly. Make sure to compare options and review the fine print to see what is covered.
Our pets need routine dental care just like us to keep them feeling their best. While we wish we could schedule your furry family member with us to meet their dental needs, they are probably in better hands with a veterinarian. For more information, please speak with your vet or visit the American Animal Hospital Association webpage for up-to-date guidelines on your pet’s oral health needs!