In contrast to human dental care, dental prophylaxis for our pets are not as routine. In fact, many pet owners don’t think about home dental care for their pets until dental disease is made evident with bad breath, loose teeth, and red gums. Let’s think about how we care for our teeth. We brush, floss, and use mouthwash daily to slow down dental disease. If so many of us rely on dental prophylaxis to slow down dental disease ,why not do this for our pets? One reason is if we don’t see evidence of dental disease with our pets, it is out of sight and out of mind. The other reason is that many pet owners may not know of home dental care options for their pets.
Why worry about home dental care for your pet?
Dental disease is common problem in many of our pets. It begins in the early stages with dental tartar or plaque developing around the teeth. As the dental disease progresses the gums become affected and then the bones around the teeth erode away. This can lead to loosened teeth and inflamed gums. As a result, expensive dental treatment may be needed for your pet. So here are a few options to help keep your pets teeth healthy as long as possible:
Dental prophylaxis may be needed
If your pet’s dental disease is advanced prior to starting at home dental care, then it is likely you will need to have a dental cleaning performed first. This may involve scaling of the teeth and possible removal of any infected teeth while under anesthesia.
Brushing your dogs teeth
This is the most effective option to help with dental disease in your pets. This is the best for home dental care for your pet. Unfortunately, many pets won’t tolerate this. It would be ideal if you can brush your pets teeth daily to help slow periodontal disease. If you have a pet whose personality is laid back enough to allow you to do this, this is a great option. Flavored toothpaste typical works best to make brushing teeth like a treat for your pet.
Dental chew or diet
Dental chew sticks or a diet are other common ways to help with your pet’s dental hygiene. The food and treats are specially designed to scrub your pet’s teeth as the chew on the stick or the specially designed kibble. If you choose the dental stick for your dog, make sure your dog actually chews on the stick. Otherwise it can be a choking hazard if your dog decides to swallow the chewing stick whole.
Food and Water Additives
Additives are the lesser known option for at home dental care for your pet. But they can contribute greatly to the dental health when combined with the methods discussed earlier.
One food additive that is becoming more popular for dental health in dogs and cats is one that contains a seaweed extract called Ascophyllum Nodosum. Studies have shown that this extract can slow the rate of dental plaque and tartar significantly. It also has the added benefit of easy administration. The product comes in a powder that can easily be added to food daily.
This is a popular water additive that contains natural enzymes that can help with bad breath and dental plaque. This is easy to administer to your pets just like the food additive. All you have to do is add a few pumps to water. This can be used in both dogs and cats.
As you can see there are great options to provide at home dental care for your pet. There is no need to wait until your pets develop dental disease before starting these. These are also great to start after your pets receives a routine dental cleaning to slow return of dental disease. Remember that it would be an unreasonable expectation that any of the mentioned options can effectively treat existing dental disease. But they can definitely help slow advancement.