How to Take Care of Your Dog's and Cat's Teeth

List: Posted: 10/14/11

Ever gotten a big toothy doggy grin in your face and thought “Gaaah! Urgh! EEW!”  Or maybe your kitty is sitting on your belly and yawns, and you have to hold your breath?  Now, I’m not talking about normal dog breath, which isn’t like sniffing fresh cinnamon buns, but it still smells healthy.  I’m talking about rotten garbage sitting in the sun stink. 

 

Well, guess what, that’s not good.  It means your dogs or cat’s teeth are in need of attention.  Because they require dental care just as much as we do.

 

So, what kind of dental care do dogs and cats need?

 

Dogs especially require daily pet dental care.  I’ve always found cat teeth to keep much better, unless they are strictly soft food eaters, then you should do something to clean their teeth regularly.  With dogs, you can get enzymatic toothpaste, and brush twice a day.  This toothpaste is appropriate for cats and dogs and advertises this.

 

Do dogs like having their teeth brushed?  Well, that is totally subjective to the dog.  Some will run when you get out the toothbrush, some will wag and grin thinking, “Oh goody, what’s that?”  Fortunately, dog/ cat toothpaste is generally flavored beef or chicken.  While my dogs don’t adore the process, they do really like the toothpaste, which makes them a bit more pliable.  That and consistent brushing will get them used to the whole chore so it goes quickly and easily.

 

What kind of products are out there for dental care?

 

Dogs: Now, if your dog(s) are not sold on the tooth brushing idea, and you can’t find them because they pulled a disappearing act as soon as they saw the toothbrush, there are a number of products made to help with this care.  I prefer to stick with chewing treats that are naturally sourced, instead of looking like plastic squeezed out of a mold.  There are several tough jerky treats that are nothing more than real meat, pressed and dried.  They smell like meat, and taste like meat.

 

In terms of toys, there are different NylaBones excellent for dental chewing, but choose the hardest ones as they won’t break in to little chunks and possibly become a choking hazard, or a foreign body stuck in the intestines.

 

However, if your dog will chew raw meaty bones (yes its safe, consult a professional), or even dried cured bones, or any of the dental bone chewable toys out there, then have those on hand at all times.  Regular chewing, and gnawing on an appropriate toy or bone, helps to keep the tartar from building up, as well as breaking up old tartar.

 

It’s also important to get that saliva moving and producing, as the enzymes in dog saliva help with their teeth and gums as well.  Repetitive, prolonged chewing action will do this also.

 

A raw diet is also said to be excellent for dental health in both dogs and cats.  But as I always caution, do a great deal of research on raw diets before you even think of changing to one.  It’s important to know ALL the facts.  Google until you can’t Google any more, talk to different vets (as they are not all on-board with the idea) and get a report going with people experienced in feeding raw diets.  There are groups, message boards, and sites online that will help you.

 

Cats: Most of the above is applicable to cats as well, though they won’t all gnaw on bones.  Some will chew on jerky.  It may be easier to use a finger toothbrush for them if you go that way.  This is a plastic piece that fits over your finger with soft bristles on the end.  It depends on your cat’s temperament and willingness to cooperate.

 

There are sprays, additives for their drinking water, and actual dental procedures done at the vet to help keep your dog’s mouth healthy.  The sprays and drinking water additives are not terribly affective, usually a waste of cash.  I’ve tried most of them.

 

Serious illness can be a result of bad dental health, such as Periodontal Disease and tooth infections that may spread to the blood via infected gums.  It is worth the money to get yearly dental cleanings as needed for both cats and dogs.

 

It can be pretty hard to live with puppy or kitty breath that makes you gag, but it can also be fatal for your pets to live with an unhealthy mouth.  So, take preventative steps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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