How’s your pet’s dental health?
I’m still surprised by the number of people who underestimate the importance of good dental health for their pets. It’s a fact that dental disease impacts 89 percent of dogs and 83 percent of cats age 3 and up and with shocking statistics like that, what makes you think your pet is safe?
There are so many myths when it comes to pets’ mouths and their dental health. For some of the silliest ones, take a look at this infographic, and then we’ll chat some more below.
Okay, be honest: how many of those myths did you believe?
Let me ask you another question: do you know the 7 signs of dental disease in dogs and cats? Recognizing these symptoms and seeking immediate veterinary care for your pet is imperative. But even more important? Being proactive and preventing those signs from occurring in the first place.
So what can you do to ensure that your dog or cat has the best possible dental health? It’s really a very simple 3-step process:
- Take your pet for a dental exam at least once per year;
- Talk to your vet about an at-home dental regime;
- Schedule regular dental cleanings for your pet, if your vet feels they’re necessary.
Notice that I didn’t say you have to brush your pet’s teeth every day, because I’ll be totally honest with you: I don’t do that with my dogs. I do brush them occasionally, but we’ve never gotten into a set routine.
My girl, Nike, just turned 5 years old. A couple of months ago, she had her annual dental exam at the vet’s office and he was very pleased with how she’s doing. In fact he was so pleased, he said he doesn’t feel a cleaning is in order at this time. That means we must be doing something right at home.
So, what are we doing that’s working so well? We follow some simple advice from Cesar Milan:
- Crunchy/dry kibble is better for your pet’s dental health than soft food because it’s less likely to stick to the teeth and gums. Although we supplement her diet with “dog-friendly people foods” like oatmeal, yogurt, bananas, and apples, Nike eats a premium dry dog food every evening.
- Synthetic chew toys and bones help keep teeth clean and are generally not hard enough to cause a dog’s teeth to crack. Nike and I like Nylabone for powerful chewers, and our vet has given his nod of approval.
- Greenies. Oh my goodness, y’all. I have to spell G-r-e-e-n-i-e-s because Nike is so obsessed with them. She gets one every single morning and has been known to “fib” to her dad, letting him believe I haven’t already given her one so that she can have a second one.
I credit all of these things for her excellent oral health and even though this regime works well for us, I strongly recommend that you consult with your veterinarian to come up with a program that works for you and your furry friends.
Oh, and here’s another idea: DIY doggie breath mints! Look for these on the blog soon, but keep one thing in mind. Just like mints and gum aren’t a substitute for proper human dental care, a doggie breath mint isn’t an acceptable dental health plan for your mutt. Even if you whip these up as a special breath freshening treat, it’s still important to have a real dental care regime in place.
So tell me, what do you do to ensure your pet’s good dental health? Let’s chat about it in comments!
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