Most of us wouldn’t dare to skip our dental hygiene routine even just for a day. This could have all sorts of implications – bad breath, yellowing teeth, plaque build up and gum disease. Yet many people forget about a dental routine for their beloved pets. Oral hygiene is just as important for cats and dogs as it is for humans!
One of the most common health problems that veterinarians find in pets is periodontal (gum) disease. It has been estimated, that by the time they are two years old, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have developed gum disease. Untreated gum disease in animals can lead to much more serious complications, like heart and kidney disease.
To prevent gum disease and tooth decay, your pets teeth should be cleaned at least twice a week, if not daily. You can buy special pet toothbrushes, and even special toothpastes that should appeal to your pets (like chicken and liver!). Do not use human toothpaste – this can be very irritating to their stomach lining.
At first it can be difficult to get your pet used to the idea of having their teeth brushed. It is best to start when the animal is young, but it is also never too late to start on their dental hygiene. It is best to start out slowly – begin by laying out the dental equipment where the animal can smell it. Then you can try to use your fingers to just rub some of the toothpaste onto their lips to help them get used to the taste. Finally, put some animal toothpaste on an animal toothbrush, and gently scrub the teeth in small, circular motions. You may need to lift your pets lips as necessary. Best to work fast here, as your pet is likely to get impatient and try to run away!