76% of pet owners agree that brushing their pet's teeth is important, but this attitude doesn't always translate into action.
73% of cat owners never brush their cat's teeth, and only 1% said they did so more than once a day.
43% of dog owners never brushed their dog's teeth, and 1% said they did more than once a day.
Having healthy teeth is essential for living healthily and maintaining a healthy weight. It's one of the most important and neglected parts of pet care.
Read on for five tips to maintain your pet's dental hygiene.
1. Brush Their Teeth
Your pet's dental hygiene routine doesn't have to be drastically different from yours. Go over their teeth with the right toothbrush and toothpaste.
The problem is that pets don't understand that it's for their health. Most owners avoid it because they don't want to get scratched or bitten.
Start early and introduce it gradually. Use positive reinforcement to make the experience less violent for both of you.
2. Feed Them the Right Foods
Canned food can encourage plaque and tartar buildup. You can try a special dental diet kibble instead. Ask your vet what food you should get to make sure you have a healthy pet.
3. Get Dental Treats and Toys
More pet owners are willing to use chews or toys to promote their pet's dental health. 11% give them to their dogs multiple times a day.
They are a helpful alternative to tennis balls that can erode enamel or rawhides they could swallow and choke on. Make sure to look for VOHC of Veterinary Oral Health Council accepted products.
4. Check for Signs of Dental Problems
Caring for a pet means constantly checking for changes in their body or attitude. Dental issues may be the most common cause. At least 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have periodontal disease by the age of 2.
A reduced appetite is one of the first symptoms of poor dental hygiene, but it's not the only one. Your pet may keep eating through the pain to survive.
Other early signs include:
Red or swollen gums
Abscesses or tumours
Misaligned or broken teeth
5. Get Regular Exams
Send your pet to the vet if you notice any indication that they don't have healthy teeth. It'll ease your mind and keep issues from progressing.
A vet can also determine your pet's dental wellness in an annual exam. They'll look at their patient's mouth while they're under anesthesia, looking for signs you may have missed.
Help Your Pet Have Healthy Teeth
Most pet owners realize they need to make sure their furry family members have healthy teeth, but not all of them take the proper steps to make it happen.
Brush their teeth every day. Feed them a healthy diet and give them toys and chews to discourage tartar and plaque buildup.
Look out for any changes in their dental health. Take them to the vet before they become severe, and don't neglect yearly checkups.
Amherst Veterinary Hospital has experienced veterinarians who care for cats, dogs, and exotic pets. Book an appointment today.