Does your dog or cat have nasty breath, browning teeth, or having trouble chewing? All of these signs can point toward gum disease, which affects 70-85% of pets age 3 and older. In honor of pet dental health month, we have all the information on how to keep your pet’s teeth healthy and clean. Read on to learn how to brush your pet’s teeth, a recipe for homemade pet toothpaste, and some signs of gum disease to look out for.
7 Reasons Your Pet Has Bad Breath
- Kidney Disease
- Ingesting a Toxic Substance
- Eating Foreign Substances (feces, dead animals, etc.)
- Oral Tumors
- Their Pet Food (too much wet food.)
or the top cause of bad pet breath…..
…7. Gum Disease: Periodontal Disease
Gum disease is caused by food particles and bacteria collecting along and under the gumline. If not cleaned properly, this forms plaque and tartar, which can cause further problems for your pet’s heart, kidneys, and liver.
Some signs of periodontal disease are:
- Persistent bad breath
- Pawing at the mouth
- Loose or missing teeth
- Sensitivity around the mouth
- Inflamed Gums (red gums)
- Irritability or depression
- Excessive drooling where there wasn’t before
- Gums bleed easily
- Loss of appetite
- Purulent exudate (pus) around the tooth
- Difficulty chewing or eating
Maintain Your Pet’s Dental Health
You can prevent gum disease in your pet a few different ways. The first step is to have their teeth checked each time you visit the vet. Your pet should have it’s adult teeth by 6-8 months, so really focus on them around that time.
Bushing Your Pet’s Teeth
What You’ll Need:
- Pet Toothpaste: Do NOT use human toothpaste. It will harm your pet and they won’t like the tingly feeling on their gums. Make sure you get a pet toothpaste or make your own with the recipe at the end of this post.
- Pet Toothbrush: A child’s toothbrush or a very soft bristled brush will work perfectly.
- Patience: It may take some time for your pet to get used to a daily dental regiment. Be patient with them and yourself.
If your pet has never had their teeth brushed before, you don’t want to try brushing all of their teeth right off the bat. Below are the steps to training your pet to allow you to brush their teeth:
- Hold Their Head Still: If they won’t let you hold their head, you will have a tough time brushing their teeth. Your first step is to gently hold their head still. When they’re comfortable with this, see if you can move it slowly from side to side. Give them plenty of praise and love for doing well.
- Show Teeth and Gums: Pull back your pet’s lips to reveal their chompers.This is a good time to check for any signs of gum disease or plaque.
- Let them Inspect the Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Put some toothpaste on the brush and let your pet sniff and lick the toothpaste. They need to know that it’s safe and won’t harm them.
- Brush a Few Teeth: You don’t want to brush all at once. Brush a few teeth here and there until your pet gets used to the feeling. Make sure to praise them after each little brush.
- Eventually…Brush all Their Teeth at Once: After a while of brushing they will feel comfortable and allow you to brush their teeth! You should still praise your pet each time they get a brushing.
Dry Pet Food Diet
Wet food is okay for your pets to have, but it’s important that they are on a regular dry food diet. Dry food helps get rid of some plaque during chewing.
If you only feed your pet wet food, you could be doing more harm than good. Too much canned food can leave a gel-like film along the teeth and gums that won’t come off unless it’s brushed away.
Your local Rural King will have all the best brands of Dry Pet Food at the lowest prices. It’s our Pet Food Price Guarantee!
Annual Dental Exam
Once your pet is about 6-7 months old, they should have lost all of their baby teeth. This is the perfect time to start an annual dental exam. Your vet will be able to catch any problems quickly, should they occur.
If your pet’s teeth really need cleaning and normal brushing won’t fix it, they might need to be professionally cleaned. Almost all veterinarians will recommend anesthesia after a health and wellness test.
That can sound very scary. Although Before you have any kind of work done on your pet, study up and learn as much as you can about the risks and rewards. Make the decision that is best for you and your pet.
Dental Chews & Oral Care Products for Pets
There are tons of different products to help with dental health in dogs and cats. I’ll add a list below so you can find one that’ll be best for your pet.
- Pedigree Dentastix (4.8 out of 5 Stars!)
- Greenies: They have a huge variety to “chews” from!
- Minties: They even have some chews for added hip and joint health!
Other Oral Care Products
This just gives you an excuse to buy your furry friend another chew toy! The chewing helps their teeth, gums, and jaw muscles.
Try these Arm & Hammer Dental Toys!
Homemade Pet Toothpaste
- 1/4 tspn Salt
- 1/4 cup Organic Coconut Oil
- 1/4 tspn Turmeric
- 1/2 tspn Dried Parsley
- 2 Tbsp Baking Soda
- 1 Tbsp Beef Broth (or chicken works too)
- Let your coconut oil soften a bit. Then mix all the ingredients together.
- Put it in a Mason Jar or other airtight container and let it set up. You can store it in the refrigerator after using.
Happy National Pet Dental Health Month!
Brushing your pet’s teeth can be easier said than done. I know my dog isn’t a huge fan. If you have any more tips or tricks, please share them in the comment section below.