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Norwalk, CT 06851
Route 7, just south
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Pets Need Dental Care Too!
As February is national pet dental health month, I hope to stimulate some of you to begin to think about improving your pet’s oral health care. Because a mouth without dental disease supports a healthier body.
Did you know dental disease doesn’t just impact your pet’s mouth? It also affects your pet’s blood pressure, heart, liver, and kidneys.
Did you know 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over 3 years old have dental disease already?
Did you know dental disease is preventable?
So how do we prevent dental disease? The key to prevention is finding what works for you and your pet. No prevention is effective if it doesn’t get done because the pet is not happy with the plan or the owners don’t carry out the plan. And there are some pets that need more intense care to maintain good oral health than others. The options for preventive care are plentiful. Some require very little work – like tossing your dog or cat some raw bones. Others require a little bit of work - like brushing their teeth DAILY with dog or cat enzymatic toothpaste. Like most good habits, the hardest part is just getting it to be part of your everyday routine.
The gold standard in dental disease prevention involves brushing your pet’s teeth daily with a dog or cat toothbrush and a quality pet enzyme toothpaste. The toothpaste has no saccharin, no fluoride, is safe to swallow, and has enzymes to “eat away” at mild plaque. Most dogs will allow this 1-2 minute daily brushing with a canine-friendly, flavored toothpaste. Most cats will not, but don’t let that stop you from trying. The key to working with your pet on brushing its teeth is to make your pet believe he/she wants you to do it. Take your time, sweet talk them, praise them, and use toothpaste that they’ll enjoy the flavor of. A treat, play session, or five minutes of good loving after a tooth brushing may just be what motivates your pet to sit and allow you to do it. It may take weeks or months before this becomes an easy task, so stick with it.
If you have the opportunity, start taking care of your pet’s mouth when they are young. You can begin training your puppy or kitten by getting them to accept your hand in their mouth and playing with their teeth. Then, as they are about seven months old and have most of their adult teeth you can begin to brush with a toothbrush and dog or cat toothpaste, and/or toss in raw bones daily. If you are not offering raw bones to your pet and you cannot brush their teeth daily, then you can begin to explore other products to help keep the teeth free of plaque. There are many effective products on the market in the form of oral sprays, drinking water additives, oral rinses, and enzymatic chews. These aren’t as effective as daily brushing or raw bones, but are still far better than doing nothing. Beware of giving hard things for your dog to chew on, as these increase the risk of tooth fracture.
Be sure to get a dental check-up for your pet at least once yearly. Move to more often if your pet is accumulating plaque, or if they’ve had a dental cleaning. Once plaque develops on teeth, the once-smooth enamel has changed forever more, to enamel with tiny pitting that will allow plaque to accumulate faster than it had originally. Your veterinarian can confirm on your pet’s dental check-ups whether what you are doing is working to prevent plaque from accumulating on your pet’s teeth.
If your pet already has plaque or if you are unsure, schedule a dental check with your veterinarian to help determine whether your pet would benefit from a thorough cleaning and polishing to get you back to a good base, from which you can begin your preventative care.
I’ve seen dogs and cats with good preventive care have teeth that look as clean as ours, or with minimal plaque year after year throughout their lifetime. Decide to make a difference in your pet’s health today. Start taking better care of your pet’s mouth.
Happy dental health month to all,
Animal Wellness Veterinary Center
FREE DENTAL EXAMS during the month of February at Animal Wellness Veterinary Center.
15% OFF any dental service or products purchased during the month of February. Please mention this promotion to take advantage of the discount. (discounts apply only to items specifically categorized under dental service or product. This would exclude anesthetic, pre-anesthetic blood work, exams, IV catheter, etc.and medications associated with a dental cleaning but not exclusive to dental care).