February is National Pet Dental Health month and, just like humans, it’s important to look after your pet’s teeth! Dental health is vital to your pet’s overall health and wellbeing and making sure they have regular check-ups and cleanings are key.
We Love Pets Trowbridge director, Jo Mumford, and WLP Trowbridge senior stylist, Cara Mumford, gave us some insight into why oral care for your dog is beneficial, how to identify signs & symptoms of dental discomfort in your pet, and how an ultrasonic toothbrush can help!
Why is dental health important for animals?
Maintaining good dental health for your pet is especially important as it helps prevent build-up of tartar and plaque, as well as more serious issues like gingivitis and gum disease. Following a regular oral care routine will also improve bad breath!
Potential health complications
Gingivitis and gum disease aren’t the only illnesses that may come from poor dental health hygiene: diabetes, heart disease and a weakened immune system are additional complications that may develop from prolonged oral care neglect. And, in some cases of serious dental neglect, your pet may end up requiring tooth removal, which can be painful for your pet and costly for you.
Does my pet have poor oral health?
If you notice that your pet has: discoloured teeth, noticeably bad breath, loss of weight and/or appetite, frequently paws at his/her face, exhibits head shaking, excessive dribbling, or has a significant change from their normal behaviour – they may be suffering from dental problems. Be sure to contact your vet for advice.
How early can I start having my dog’s teeth cleaned?
As early as possible! We recommend getting your dog’s teeth cleaned as a puppy, so they get used to having a brush in their mouth. You can introduce the concept of brushing their teeth to them by using your finger and dipping it in something tasty like gravy or broth, so the puppy enjoys the process. Rub your finger all over the teeth and gums, and instruct them with a positive command, such as “treat,” so they associate it with a positive interaction.
Options for canine cleanings
While using a regular toothbrush and some elbow grease may clean your pet’s teeth pretty well, Jo & Cara recommend seeking out a professional cleaning service that offers the use of the Emmi-pet Ultrasonic Toothbrush. The Emmi-pet is designed to clean better, with more force, but doesn’t use any movement or vibrations – to provide extra comfort for your pup! Many dogs don’t enjoy the sounds and/or movements of normal brushing, so the ultrasonic toothbrush is an ideal solution – it even comes with a specialist ultrasound toothpaste.
If you’re interested in starting your pet on an Emmi-pet cleaning regimen we suggest beginning with a 10-week course, having your pet’s teeth cleaned each week, and then following up for review. Many grooming salons, like our WLP Trowbridge salon, offer teeth cleaning as a treatment option on its own, or to add with a full groom. Your vet or groomer should perform a full body health check, including teeth and gums, with each grooming appointment so they may advise you on issues with your pet’s dental health, and make suggestions for a course of treatment.
Which toys and treats have the green light?
Vets and groomers alike discourage pet owners from purchasing bones, hooves & antlers, rawhide chews, and tennis balls as chewing toys and treats. Bones, hooves and antlers are strong enough to chip or break teeth, and rawhides use chemicals in their manufacture that can cause poor dental hygiene and tooth fractures. They also have the potential to become choking hazards. Tennis balls seem harmless enough, but the fuzzy nylon is actually quite abrasive on teeth, and can wear down the enamel, meaning your pup’s teeth won’t be as strong and protected.
We recommend using We Love Nutrition dental treats as a yummy, but functional, treat for dogs and cats alike! They’re made with freshly prepared turkey, green tea extract, and activated charcoal to help maintain whiter teeth and prevent bad breath. Yak chews and Whimzees also earn the We Love Pets seal of approval! Yak chews become softer as they’re chewed, which means less chance for broken and chipped teeth, and Whimzees natural dental chews help your pooch combat plaque and tartar build up and keep their breath fresh!
To find out more about the pet care services we offerSee our Services