Go ahead, take a good whiff of your pet’s breath. Does it smell like a bed of roses or the manure used to grow them?
Contrary to popular belief, bad breath is never normal in pets. Properly caring for your dog or cat’s teeth will go a long way in their overall health.
You need to be brushing and examining your pet’s teeth daily. What? You don’t examine your own teeth daily? We are talking about your pet’s teeth, not necessarily your own but…did you know that your pet’s teeth, aside from shape, are the same as yours? Pets suffer from dental disease just as people do.
Begin by lifting up your pet’s lips exposing the gums and teeth. The gums should be pink, show no signs of swelling, be tumor free, and holding the teeth securely in place. The teeth should be clean and free from any brownish colored tartar.
Next, brush those teeth! Get yourself a pet toothbrush or fingerbrush as well as pet approved toothpaste. Accustom your pet to daily brushings by massaging the lips and exposing the teeth with your finger for a few seconds at a time while using a circular motion. Tell your pet just how awesome they are, this is very important.
Once your pet is comfortable with this, apply the technique to the teeth. Using the fingerbrush or toothbrush, apply a small amount of pet toothpaste to the desired tool of the trade and brush gently. Be sure not to jab the brush into your pet’s mouth and expect absolute tolerance. Your pet will eventually go with the flow with gentle, consistent brushing. You are focusing on the outer surfaces of the teeth as the tongue will help clean the inner surfaces, so there is no need to open up the mouth when trying to brush.
Chew on this; chew toys and dental chews can massage the gums and help keep teeth clean and, as a bonus, relieve boredom. Chews and toys are not a substitute for daily brushing.
Dry food is another great way to help keep your pet’s teeth clean. Canned food and table scraps increase tartar buildup and fast! Tartar control food like Hill’s t/d are like edible toothbrushes, cleaning your pet’s teeth while they chew! They are also a great alternative for pets that simply won’t allow toothbrushing.
Most importantly, take your pet to the vet! Regular dental check-ups and periodic dental cleanings is paramount to your pet’s oral health. Your veterinarian is your pet’s other best friend who will help you every step of the way and assist in keeping those chompers chomping for many years to come.
Now you know the real chew.