Have you ever come home from a long day at work to be greeted not only with 1,000 kisses but also with the bad breath of your furry friend? YIKES! You’ve got the basics down when it comes to caring for your pet’s needs, so how can it be that they have such horrendous breath? There might be something you’re overlooking….their oral hygiene! Bathing, brushing, and clipping nails are all important for maintaining a happy fur baby, but many people don’t realize that they need dental care as well!
Why Is It Important to Care for Your Dogs Teeth?
Pet oral health is just as important as your own, so much so that there is a Veterinary Oral Health Council that studies and speaks on it! Unlike humans, your pet can’t explicitly tell you when something is wrong or when they’re feeling unwell, so it’s best to stay on top of their oral hygiene to rule that out as a cause for illness. Your pet should have pale pink gums as one of the signs of a happy and healthy mouth. If something is amiss, you may be looking at gingivitis or possibly something more serious. So how do you take care of their teeth if you’ve never done it before? Trick question. You do it similarly to how you care for your teeth!
Brush Your Pups Teeth
There are a couple of different options when it comes to selecting a toothbrush for your pet, and yes, they need their own toothbrush specifically designed for their needs. If you’re using one that looks similar to yours, that works in a pinch but it’s better to pick up one with a smaller head and soft bristles. There are some brushes designed with bristles that reach both sides of the teeth simultaneously, though not every pet will feel comfortable with something so unfamiliar in their mouth. If your pet is a little temperamental about getting their teeth brushed, reach for a finger brush that just slips over your fingers. While they aren’t as effective as the standard brush, it’s better than nothing. There are a ton of different flavors of pet toothpaste to choose from, so you’re sure to find something your furry friend will like…or at least tolerate. Don’t forget to get up in the gums and jowls as hair and dirt can accumulate in the folds of their mouths when they play or use chew toys.
Make Doggy Dental Care Fun
Okay, so your pet is on the stubborn side and won’t let you brush, now what? Fear not! If your pup or kitty is food motivated, your options are seemingly endless! From a breath-freshening water additive to dental “treats” you’re able to find something that they will like. This will likely come with some trial and error but once you’ve figured out what they like, fresh breath will be on the way! As they munch on their newfound favorite treat, their teeth will be cleaned, polished and tartar will be scraped from the surface of their chompers. There are even “dental diet” foods to aid in keeping the teeth clean while your pet still enjoys their tasty kibble. Just be sure to select a kibble size that is appropriate to avoid any hiccups during feeding time.
Schedule Regular Appointments
So what happens when you genuinely can’t get your furry friend to cooperate during teeth cleaning time? You turn to the professionals of course! No one knows pet hygiene quite like a professional groomer. They’ll have all the tools to not only get those teeth sparkling but keep your pet calm during the whole ordeal. By being able to provide a deep clean, you’ll have a headstart on doing your pet’s dental care at home. Ask your groomer about how you can best provide maintenance between appointments and establish a routine that is doable for you or whoever cleans your pet’s teeth. If your pet doesn’t need a full grooming experience, talk to your vet during the routine checkup to squeeze in a quick cleaning while you’re there!
How Do I Know If My Pet’s Bad Breath Is Serious?
If your pet’s breath is overwhelmingly offensive or has suddenly taken a turn for the worse, it’s time to head to your vet. By getting a thorough checkup on their mouth, you can rule out various causes for the foul smell and get closer to a solution. Causes could range from diabetes to something as simple as old age and teeth needing extractions but it’s best to stay on top of that home care to keep your fur baby happy.
It’s recommended to brush their teeth twice a day (just like us!), but if you can’t find the time to do it that often, three times a week minimum is when you’ll see (and smell!) improved oral health for your pet. Caring for your furry loved one’s teeth is pretty easy and those welcome home kisses will be even sweeter once you get on top of the routine. Happy brushing!