Cats and dogs of all ages and breeds need consistent dental care. Some breeds are more prone to dental issues than others, but they all need individual care. Some animals are not going to allow you to brush their teeth every day, especially if the process isn’t started when they are very young. But what are your other options?
· Brushing your pet’s teeth every day, especially the back molars, is the best way to maintain good oral health. That’s not to say he’ll never need to have his teeth professionally cleaned, it’ll just spread out the time between dentals. (Just like with people! If you went 5 years without brushing, you’d have dog breath too!)
· Dental chews are available for both dogs and cats that are impregnated with enzymes that help to lessen the bacteria in the mouth, as well as scrubbing the teeth!
· There are toys, mostly for dogs, that specifically target dental health. We recommend the Busy Bone for dogs.
· Dental diets are available as well, some at the store and others at your vet’s office. The prescription T/D (Tartar Diet) works well, but can be pricey because it’s available by prescription only. It comes in large and small bites for dogs, and is also available in dry food for cats. It works by being very hard to chew, so the animal is forced to really crunch down on the pieces, which acts as a brushing agent. Science Diet also has a dental diet out in stores. There may be more I don’t know of, but you’re vet and local pet supply store can make recommendations. Always remember to change your pet’s food gradually so as not to cause stomach problems. Mix the two kinds over a week or two, gradually adding more and more of the newer kind in. And don’t forget to listen to your pet– if they stop eating or eat around the new food, they’re trying to tell you something. It doesn’t do you any good to buy food for their dental health if they won’t eat it.
Regardless of what you choose to for your pet’s oral and dental health, always monitor them for warning signs of problems such as suddenly noticing bad breath, dropping food while eating, chewing on one side of the mouth, swelling of the face or disinclination to eat/drink or have his face touched.