February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

So, what does that mean? It means taking care of your dog’s mouth is asBrushing Teeth! important as taking care of your own. Chew toys designed for aiding the removal of plaque, raw bones, and brushing your dog’s teeth – ideally weekly – will help tremendously in preventing long-term health problems. The consequences of not doing these things are certainly not worth it. Our family dog, Lulu, died young for a small dog at 12. We did not clean her teeth and towards the end of her life she suffered from gingivitis (infection of the gums) and endocarditis (infection of the heart). There is a direct link between dental hygiene and the health of your dog or cat’s immune system and organs such as the heart, kidney, and liver. I have no doubts she would have lived longer if we had been more aware of the importance of dental hygiene.

So, how do you get your furry friends, cat or dog, interested in a teeth brushing? First, start early when they’re kittens and puppies. Our littlest pup is now used to getting her teeth brushed and will cock her head to the side and relax her lips in anticipation of the brush. It’s super cute.

If, you’ve started later in life as I have with my chocolate Labrador then the best is to relax them by stroking their head, cheeks, and calmly talk to them while rolling them on their side. When they are comfortable, lift their lips back and rub their teeth, either with a piece of gauze, or if they are comfortable, ideally with a soft-bristled brush. Don’t use human toothpaste. It contains fluoride; if swallowed in huge quantities it can be toxic and dogs can’t rinse and spit! The toothpaste I use is Kissable! from Cain &Able – all natural pet toothpaste.

If your dog or cat will not let you brush their teeth then using a pill or powdered form of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Pet Naturals, or Plaque Off is an option. Preliminary studies have shown that CoQ10 is particulary useful in the treatment and prevention of periodontal disease and gingivitis in pets. Plaque Off contains Ascophyllum nodosumis, a specific kind of seaweed that shows benefits in dental health for animals and humans. Customers and employees at the Big Bad Woof have noticed the effects they see in their own animals. It takes a few months, but you will see a decrease in plaque on their teeth.

Chewable snacks are another option for maintaining dental health. At the Big Bad Woof, we usually promote products that do not contain soy, wheat gluten, or corn. The ubiquitousness of these ingredients may lead to the development of allergies in your pet. Some suggested products are below.

  • True Blue – Super easy dental swipes. If using gauze to cleanse your dogs teeth, this product has added ingredients to freshen breath.
  • Breath-less – A company based out of FL sells products similar to Greenies.
  • Paragon – A company based in Holland sells dental chews for dogs in fun shapes.
  • Zukes – A company based in CO sells dental bones for dogs.
  • Smart n’tasty – A company based in California sells dental treats for cats and dogs.
  • For raw food enthusiasts – Chicken necks or turkey necks can decrease the build-up of plaque.

I hope this finds you excited about the prospect of improving your dog or cat’s health starting the month of February! Don’t be afraid to try new things, research your choices, and consult your veterinarian.

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Date: Monday, 30. January 2012 13:38
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Nutrition, Pet Wellness

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1 Comment

  1. 1

    I agree with the tips you mentioned. I have a 2-year old dog and I make sure that his teeth are healthy & clean as I have kids at home too. It can not be avoided that sometimes, they kiss each other. So one thing to make sure my kids are safe from bacteria is ensuring my dog has clean healthy teeth and gums. It is said that dog dental disease are the most common diseases in small animal with an estimated four out of every five cats and dogs over the age of three.I am aware that younger animals like my dog are not immune from pet dental problems so prevention is really better than cure. I don’t want him to suffer pain & infection, I love him very much.

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