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Pet Dental Care Tips from Longwood Vet Center

Dental care is one of the most overlooked aspects of pet health. While it commonly goes unnoticed, proper dental care is critical for a healthy, high quality life. Untreated oral issues are not only painful, but can lead to lung, heart and kidney disease.

Examining and brushing your pet’s teeth regularly is important to maintaining their overall health. Periodontal disease is the most prevalent health issue among dogs and cats. Signs of gum disease include bead breath, swollen gums, yellow- brown tartar along the gum line, and bleeding gums. When checking your pet’s mouth, if you notice any of these issues you should seek veterinary care.

Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly in addition to annual dental exams and cleanings can help to improve their overall health. Brushing should done weekly to daily, starting at an early age. Here are a few tips for brushing your pet’s teeth.

Start Gradually:
When introducing a brushing program it is important to do so gradually. Keep brushing sessions positive and short and try to refrain from over restraining your pet. We suggest brushing the teeth while sitting beside your pet or having them in your lap.

Tasty Introduction:
Start by dipping your finger into beef bouillon, tuna or pet toothpaste then rubbing your finger around the gums and teeth. Make this process short and gradually increase brushing intervals.

Use Your Tools:
After your pet has become acquainted with having their gums touched wrap your finger with gauze and continue the process. Once your pet has become accustomed to the process you will want to switch from gauze to a pet toothbrush or a finger toothbrush. It is important that you brush your pet’s teeth with a dog or cat friendly toothpaste as human toothpaste can cause stomach upset.

Busy Brushing:
Once your pet has become comfortable with the process, use the toothpaste and toothbrush to begin gently brushing their teeth. The brush should be angled to focus on the gum line to help remove the plaque buildup. Start in small circles and brush along the gum line. Some light bleeding is normal, but ongoing or heavy bleeding could be a sign of aggressive brushing or gum disease.

Be Reassuring:
It will take time and several attempts to brush your entire pets mouth. Aim to brush for approximately 2 minutes every session. After the brushing is over it is important to rub and play with your pet. Brushing sessions should also end with a favorite treat or toy.

Brushing your pet’s teeth doesn’t have to be a painstaking process. With a little knowledge and determination, you can help your pet keep those canines pearly white and reduce the risk of disease and infection.