February is National Pet Month! Dentist in Portland Dr. Todd Beck and the office mascots Cadyn and Willie (pictured above) encourage patients to provide good dental care for their pets during the month of February and all year long.
Foundational Dental Care for Pets
Providing good dental care for pets is very similar to maintaining healthy teeth in humans. The foundational strategies include plenty of clean water and a diet of whole food. Make sure that your pet has a steady supply of clean water throughout the day. If the food choices for your pet are overwhelming, ask your veterinarian for recommendations on the best food available. A diet that naturally helps keep teeth clean is a good investment when it comes to the dental care of your pet!
Make a Dental Appointment
While dentists generally don’t treat pets, veterinarians provide dental care services for pets of all kinds, especially dogs and cats. At a scheduled appointment, a vet will check the health of your pet’s mouth, including below the gumline. A professional cleaning can also determine if there are any potential or current problems, and provide x-rays, tooth extractions, or more complicated, long-term dental care.
Work With Your Vet
A visit with your pet’s vet also paves the way for good at-home dental care practices. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend products that are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council for good dental health and the prevention of periodontal disease. While products for pet dental care used to be rare, there are several now available, and the choices can be overwhelming.
Trust your vet to provide wisdom regarding pet food that is good for dental health, dental chews, chlorhexidine rinses and mouth sprays and dental sealants. These products, when used consistently, can help keep your pet’s teeth healthy. Your vet can also teach you how to safely and correctly brush your pet’s teeth.
Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
It might be tempting to grab an old toothbrush and some toothpaste, chase your dog or cat around, and attempt to brush their teeth on your own. Resist this impulse. Instead, get lessons from the vet about how best to brush your pet’s teeth.
Toothbrushes, for dogs and cats especially, are made specifically for their teeth and mouths. There are different styles on the market that allow for easier reach and convenience, specifically designed for pets. Choose one that is appropriate in size for your pet’s mouth. If your dog or cat will not tolerate a brush, there are options like mouth sprays or cloths.
In addition, do not use a toothpaste that is formulated for human use. First, it’s not meat-flavored, so your pet will likely not accept it. Second, a toothpaste made for use with pets can be safely swallowed. Start with small samples of toothpastes made especially for your pet to see which one is his or her favorite!
At South Waterfront Dental, Cadyn and Willie – along with Portland dentist Dr. Todd Beck – encourage patients to take good care of their pets, including dental health! Call us at (503) 841-5658 to schedule an appointment for those special humans in your life, then call your vet to make dental appointments for your pets.