Dental disease is common in almost all adult dogs and cats we examine. Prevention is key, and aside from professional cleaning, the most important thing you can do is brush your pet's teeth.
"Bonding time" starts at an early age and is an enjoyable time for all, well sometimes it is! Start brushing when an adult's teeth are in, so around 5 months.
Mild Gum Infection
Brushing a pet's teeth should be started long before plaque and gingivitis develop. Brushing your teeth after that does not solve this problem.
Sometimes people wonder why pets need proper dental cleanings from you when they have memories of growing up with dogs and cats that never did. It doesn't take much to answer this question.
Pets today eat a diet that makes them susceptible to plaque. They also live longer and, like humans, are more susceptible to disease. A big reason is that decades ago we didn't have the knowledge to understand how dogs and cats lived with chronic pain because we didn't know or couldn't diagnose their dental conditions.
One of the most important things you can do to slow the recurrence of dental disease is to brush your pet's teeth. This helps keep the gums healthy and prevent tartar build-up on the teeth on the buccal side of the mouth, although it doesn't work as well on the teeth on the lingual side of the mouth.
While this may seem like an impossible or even ridiculous idea for an uncooperative pet, it is one of the best ways to prevent dental disease.
Although teeth will need professional cleanings again in the future (most people have their pet's teeth cleaned several times a year), proper brushing will reduce the number of dental diseases and the number of times we need to clean your pet's teeth throughout its life.
Due to the short lifespan of pets compared to humans, proper home care of your pet's teeth becomes an important health measure.
There are some common things to do when brushing your teeth to make the process go more smoothly.
It is important to remain calm and patient because putting things in the mouth is a new experience for most pets.
It is also very useful to start brushing early.
Patience is the key!
Try to do something positive (eat, play or walk) with your pet immediately after brushing to improve future behavior.
Introduction to Brushing Your Dog's Teeth
Try to make the whole process fun, never imply that you are doing something good for your pet (like child psychology. Do they benefit, they don't) If your pet is close to you or on your lap, let your pet get used to having your finger near its mouth, even while you're watching TV. Dipping your finger into a food or liquid that your pet has developed a taste for will help start the process smoothly.
When the finger feels comfortable, rub the gums with soft gauze and gently brush the teeth. An applicator with a cotton tip can also be used. Finally, you want to go to the toothbrush.
Proper restraint is important for smaller pets, especially cats. There must be a balance between too little and too much restriction, a balance that varies with each pet. This is especially true for cats.
For smaller pets, placing them on the table makes the process easier. If possible, larger pets can also be placed on the table or attached to the ground.
Only one or two people should participate in the cleaning, usually without children.
Do not use personal toothpaste to brush your pet's teeth, as the taste can irritate their stomach. These dental care kits include toothpaste that is specially formulated to please the animal.
If you see daily brushing as an opportunity to bond with your pet, it will be more enjoyable for you and your pet.
Brush your teeth with a small amount of toothpaste in slow circular motions. It is important to brush the outer surface of the teeth (teeth against the lips, not against the tongue), because this is where plaque most often occurs.
If your pet is cooperative, brush the inside right away. Your goal is to brush at least 3 times a week. It reduces plaque by 90%.
If your pet does not tolerate brushing normally, or if you see blood or blood on the toothbrush, smell it, see an inflamed area or swelling, or a buildup of tartar or inflamed gums, take your pet in for a veterinary examination.
If the tartar is serious, it's time for a professional cleaning.
As with humans, routine preventive care is very important for pet oral hygiene. This will save your pet from long-term pain and unnecessary tooth loss, and may save you the cost of a veterinary visit to treat advanced dental disease.
A vet should check your pet's teeth every 6-12 months, especially if they have already had gingivitis and the teeth have been cleaned. Any pet with a history of periodontal disease should be checked every 3 months. One of these checks may take place when your pet is taken to the hospital for their annual booster shot.