You know the importance of regular dentist visits to keep your teeth and gums healthy. The same is true for your dogs (and cats) — regular vet visits are the best way to maintain your pet’s oral health.
There are some of us who may not brush as regularly between visits as our dentist would like and some pets are the same – some just do NOT find it enjoyable to have their teeth brushed at home and can become aggressive.
So, what are you supposed to do when you know it’s in their best interest to keep their teeth and gums healthy, yet they growl or bite at you as soon as they see that doggy (or kitty) toothbrush in your hand?
There are some simple at-home options for your pet’s oral care between veterinarian visits, such as cleaning wipes, dental chews, and food additives.
Dental Cleaning Wipes
You can use a dental cleaning wipe instead of toothpaste and a brush with your pet.
MAXI/GUARD Oral Cleansing Wipes, for example, are designed specifically for dogs’ and cats’ teeth to help remove plaque and tartar and eliminate bad breath.
The wipes are easy to use and convenient, and you don’t need any special training to learn how to use them.
The wipes can be used on the go, so you don’t need to stress about whether you can take your pet on a trip or be out in public.
Dental wipes are also great if your pet has a sensitive stomach or gets gassy after eating.
Another way to clean your pet’s teeth instead of brushing, is adding food additives to their regular dry food meals.
Food additives can help keep your dog’s teeth and gums clean and healthy overall by removing harmful bacteria from plaque buildup on the surface of their teeth, as well as provide relief from pain caused by dental disease.
Food additives include:
- omega 3 fatty acids from salmon oil
- chlorophyllin from fresh vegetables
Another benefit to using food additives, is they can help with bad breath. Bad breath is often caused by an accumulation of food particles in your dog’s mouth, which is one reason why it’s important to stay on top of your pet’s dental hygiene.
Food additives are also a great alternative to needing to put your hands in your pet’s mouth. You (probably) don’t enjoy when your dentist is examining your teeth, but at least you know the reasoning behind having hands in your mouth. Your pet most likely will become defensive if you try to put your fingers into their mouths to examine their teeth or touch their gums.
Dental care chews are one of the most effective ways to keep your pet’s teeth clean and their gums strong.
There are many types of dental chews on the market, including dental treats and biscuits that contain special enzymes to help clean plaque from their teeth and gums.
If you want to give your dog a chew that will help clean his teeth, there are some great options out there.
Protein chews, like Greenies Dental Treats, Oravet Hygiene Dental Chews, and other similar brands, are made specifically to help keep dog’s teeth clean and healthy.
They’re also low in fat and calories so they don’t contribute much to the overall amount of food your dog needs each day.
Of course, your pet will agree that the best types of treats will also have toys inside so they can enjoy playing with the chew while they’re getting their teeth brushed!
There are some chew toys specifically designed for canine dental hygiene by companies like Nylabone and Petzlife.
These can be especially useful for dogs with long, floppy tongues or teeth that don’t meet properly. The toys allow the pet to chomp down on the toy and maneuver it around in their mouths, which helps brush away any plaque buildup and scrape away tartar.
Regular veterinary visits are the best way to care for your pet’s teeth
When you bring your pet in for their regular examinations, we’ll check your pet’s teeth and mouth for signs of tooth decay or gum disease, which can lead to more serious conditions like heart and kidney failure if left untreated. We’re here for you, and your pet(s).
We can also recommend Hill’s Prescription Diet t/d. This dental health dry food is clinically proven to reduce plaque, stain, and tartar buildup and clean up to the gum line. It is formulated as a complete and balanced nutritional solution for your pet’s daily health regimen and works like a toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash all in one.
We are here to help you keep your dog(s) and cat(s) healthy
A special note: If your pet has diabetes, they may be more prone to dental disease, so it’s even more important to stay on top of their dental health!
If brushing your pet’s teeth isn’t working for you, you now have a few options to try as part of their routine care and maintenance.
Call us at Sierra Veterinary Hospital with any questions you have about wipes, additives, chews, or toys; or ask us when your pet is in for a regular visit.
We’re here to help you keep your pets healthy and happy, and that includes their dental care!