February is National Pet Dental Health Month so what better time is there to make sure you know the best ways to keep your dog or cat’s teeth in tip top pearly white shape so eventually it’s second nature.
Wake up, brush your teeth, swirl around some mouthwash and continue on with your morning routine without that pesky morning breath. For us humans dental hygiene is basically a no brainer after years and years of routine. Bad breath is awful and the repercussions of not keeping our teeth healthy and clean are painful and terrible. When asked if we know how to keep our teeth clean, brushing and flossing are the first things that come to mind. Now the real question is when that same question is asked about your animals mouths, how many people actually know how to keep their pets' mouths clean and healthy? February is National Pet Dental Health Month so what better time is there to make sure you know the best ways to keep your dog or cat’s teeth in tip top pearly white shape so eventually it’s second nature.
One of the simplest things you can do to keep your pets' teeth whiter than fresh snow is to give them things to chew. The first response we usually get to this statement is “Hey my pet chews all the time on their dry food and everyone knows how great that is for their teeth.” This is in fact incorrect and has somewhat become an old wives tale. Dry food is honestly similar to a person crunching on some pretzels or cookies. The texture of dry food shares a similar consistency to these treats so it actually builds up rather than being hard enough to scrape their teeth clean. In comparison canned food tends to slide right off and most raw diets will have ground bone in them which will help to clean their teeth. Actual bones and chews will be your dog's best friend but also yours because they are the perfect defense against plaque and tartar.
The key is to always mix up the size and shape of your chews. This will make the biggest impact on how the teeth are being cleaned because they hold their chews in different ways. This means when you give your dog a bully stick or even a bully spiral they tend to chew it in a way that cleans their back and side teeth, it also tends to be a nice long lasting chew. Things like ears, scapula pieces and certain bone shapes focus more on the front teeth. Many of the smaller sized chews are perfect for your cat too which is why it's a great idea to keep a variety of chews on hand to cover the whole family. For pets with quite a bit of build up we recommend giving them a set chew time every day until their teeth are in better condition. For general dental health giving chews three to four times a week can be very effective. Puppies start chewing when teething but it's important to keep them chewing their whole life to ensure their smile always stays bright.
Do you have a pet that isn't big on chewing? Not a problem, chews aren't the only enjoyable item for your pets dental health. Many treats and jerkies are perfect for both your dogs and cats. Our cats for example love our dried lung snacks and chicken jerkies that are hard enough to scrape any plaque off but still easy enough for them to chew. Dried Sweet Potatoes are another great snack that's quite tough and enjoyable. Of course we also have a great assortment of dental treats and other products that will not only target plaque but also keep their breath nice and fresh. Attacking plaque from another direction are teeth gels and enzymes. Teeth gels are a great way to freshen a smile and their breath. These gels can be very easy to use and require no brushing, although brushing would help to speed the process up. With just a couple drops on either side of the mouth you’ll see your pets start to lick their lips. This means they are moving it throughout their mouth to start breaking down any plaque and tartar. Enzymes are a great additive for your pets drinking water. It’s odorless, colorless, and tasteless so your pets won’t even know it's there. These enzymes help to level the PH of the mouth which in turn deters the growth of bacteria, controls plaque and tartar, and of course awful breath.
Using any combination of these dental solutions on a regular basis will help to maintain the perfect dental hygiene for your pet. You will avoid putting them through unnecessary anesthesia and your furry kids have a smile to be proud of.