Pet Dental Hygiene

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Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

We know how important

exercise is to our four-legged friends, but when it comes

to health, don’t forget your pet’s teeth.

Equally important to annual dental exams at your veterinarian’s practice is home dental care, according to the American Animal Hospital Association. The AAHA recommends brushing your pet’s teeth every day from an early age.

Doing so can help prevent serious oral diseases. If these types of issues are left untreated, they can lead to pain and problems with the heart, lung and kidney.

Signs of Periodontal Disease

Pet owners should be regularly examining their pet’s teeth for signs of periodontal disease. The AAHA points to these main indicators:

  • Brownish colored teeth
  • Swollen, red or bleeding gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose teeth or loss of teeth
  • Pus between the gums and teeth
  • Broken teeth and any unusual growth in the mouth.

Reluctance to eat, play with chew toys or drink cold water also are warning signs of periodontal or gum disease. If you see any of these warning signs, consult with your veterinarian immediately for a dental exam and treatment options.

Introducing Dental Care

Pets will naturally be hesitant to submit to dental care, especially if you introduce it later in their lives. A slow, gradual introduction works best for keeping your pet calm during the process. The AAHA recommends starting by using your finger to gently rub along your animal’s gums and teeth.

Eventually work up to a toothbrush specially designed for pets. Scrub the gum line in a soft, oval motion with the brush at a 45-degree angle. Veterinarians warn against using toothpaste or baking soda, as they can make your pet’s stomach upset.

Dental care is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care, but is crucial to the overall well-being of your pets. Check with your veterinarian today to set your pet up on a dental care plan that can lead to optimal health for years to come.

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