Use dental chews to keep pet’s teeth healthy

If you’re a pet lover like me, you spend lots of time on pet web sites. Have you noticed that lots of pet sites are promoting February as National Pet Dental Health month? We do so much for our pets, but it’s pretty easy to overlook their dental health. Maybe you think that pet dental health is just about brushing their teeth, but did you know that there are treats on the market that can be almost as effective as actual tooth brushing. Just like brushing your pet’s teeth, using dental chews is an important part of any dental regime.

Which treats to chews (sorry, couldn’t help myself!)? Read the label, most of the products with added benefits for your pet’s oral health will say something like “freshens breath,” “cleans teeth and gums,” or identify themselves as “dental chews.” Dental chews help reduce tartar and plaque that can build up on your pet’s teeth between brushings. Most dental chews have some kind or raised bumps or grooves that both clean the teeth and massage the gums. They also have an overall texture that’s designed to help clean teeth as your dog or cat eats them.

Many dental treats are labeled for once daily use, so be sure to read the directions. One popular brand of dental chews is C.E.T. Chew-eez. C.E.T.’s feature the patented, exclusive Chlorhexidine System to remove plaque and prevent the buildup of tartar-forming bacteria. The dual-action enzymes help enhance your pet’s own oral defense mechanism. C.E.T. chews come in sizes for cats or dogs.

Greenies are another good brand of dental chew . Greenies have a unique shape, tailored to how your pet actually bites and chews. I like that Greenies come in lots of sizes, so that no matter what size your pet is, there is one that’s just right. And there is a Greenies for cats. My cats love them.

Dental toys are another way of keeping your pet’s teeth healthy and clean. The well known Kong brand toys are some of the best-selling dog toys on the market. Their hard rubber construction gives your dog a really good chewing surface and with most of them, you can stuff them with your dog’s favorite treats and keep him happy and chewing for hours!

How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

It’s Pet Dental Health Month! So in honor of that, here’s a few tips on helping your pet get accustomed to getting his teeth brushed.

You want to keep sessions short, just like when training your pet. Take your time, be positive and use lots of praise. The first thing is that you want to get your pet use to you handling his mouth and sticking something in it.

To start out, call your pet in a voice that means it’s treat time. Use a happy, excited tone. When your pet comes, gently scratch his nose and around his lips. Lift his lip to expose the teeth. Praise him and give him a treat. You’ll want to work this up until you can hold his lip up for 30 seconds at a time.

When your pet is comfortable with you handling his mouth and lips, you can start working on letting him get used to you putting something in his mouth. Use your finger at first and rub it over his teeth. Praise him and give him a treat. You’ll want to work up to 30 to 60 seconds with this step.

When your pet is comfortable with your finger, you will want to introduce the toothbrush. Put the toothbrush over your finger and repeat the above. You’re getting closer! If your pet allows you to use the toothbrush, you’re set, if not, keep trying and working, you’ll get it! Work your way up to 60 seconds with the toothbrush.

Now you’re ready to add the toothpaste! DO NOT use a human toothpaste on your dog or cat, be sure to use a toothpaste specifically designed for animals. Put a little bit of the toothpaste on the brush and allow your pet to lick it off. Then add a little bit more and start brushing. You will want to spend about a minute on each side of your pet’s mouth. Don’t worry if you have to work up to it, it will pay off in the end.

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Pet Dental Care

Just like humans, pets need their teeth cared for too. Using proper brushing and cleaning, you can save your pet from dental disease. By starting a regular tooth brushing program early, it will be easier for both you and your pet. Without regular brushing, your pet could develop tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Plaque forms on the teeth between brushings. It is kind of gooey and is a mixture of bacteria, saliva and food. If not removed, it hardens to form tarter, which is much harder to remove. If tarter builds up too much, it can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, which makes the gums turn red and become inflamed. At this point, you might start to notice bad breath and a decreased appetite.

If the tarter is not removed, it can build up under the gum line and cause an infection. At this point, your pet has periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, abscesses and even bone loss. If the infection is not taken care of promptly, it can lead to heart and liver failure.

How do you prevent Periodontal Disease?
Preventing Periodontal Disease is quite easy. With regular veterinarian visits and daily toothbrushing, your pet will be problem free.