Pet Teeth Cleaning Tips

posted: 05/15/12
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Photo Courtesy: Muttropolis
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Keeping your pet's teeth healthy is an easy way to add years to their lifespan. Since periodontal disease is the number one preventable health problem for small dogs, start minding those canines today with some simple first steps toward a lifetime of great dental health whether you've got a new pup or a senior pet in your family.

1. Pay Attention to Your Pet's Dental Health

Check their teeth and gums regularly. Healthy canine and feline teeth are white, so discolored teeth indicates that something isn't right. Red, swollen or bleeding gums also require attention, as do loose teeth. Bad breath in adult dogs and cats isn't normal and usually indicates a problem with your pet's dental health. Many natural remedies are available to help reduce bad breath and mouth odors in dogs and cats and some handy resources are mentioned at the end of this article.

2. Fight Tartar Build-up

Dogs build up tartar and plaque just like humans do and specially formulated dental chews can help remove tartar and plaque and keep your pet's teeth healthy and strong. Raw beef marrow bones (not cooked) can also keep your dog's teeth free of tartar as the gnawing motion scrapes 'gunk' off your dog's teeth. Long lasting chews or raw carrots massage the gum line and help remove tartar.

3. Brush Regularly

Regular brushing with a special pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste is an important part of preventive dental care. Small pet toothbrushes allow you to get comfortably inside their mouth to clean. Be patient and gentle introducing this new routine into your pet's life.

Tips on successfully brushing your dog's teeth: 

Desensitizing Exercise: In order to get your pet comfortable with the handling and examining of their mouth, start by holding your pet's head steady and gently stroke the outside of the muzzle with your fingers. Speak calmly and make it quick ... 30 seconds is fine. After this "desensitizing" exercise, make sure to reward them with a treat to make it a positive experience.

Properly Introducing the Toothbrush: Once your pet is used to you handling their mouth, next, use a few fingers and gently rub their teeth to get them used to the brushing sensation. To create a natural transition between using your fingers and a pet toothbrush, try dipping the toothbrush in beef juice or use pet toothpaste. Always praise with a treat after brushing and try to be consistent with your habits.

4. Consider Gentle Dental Teeth Cleaning

Harmful bacteria build-up can cause infection and tooth decay. Technology from the human world continues to make its way into the pet world including non-invasive surgeries and procedures such as Gentle Dental. Where available, Gentle Dental is an "anesthesia free" low-stress teeth cleaning method that removes harmful plaque and tartar from your pet's teeth and gums.  Check to make sure your Gentle Dental practitioner is certified and check their references.

5. Visit Your Vet Regularly

If your pet has serious dental problems, visit your vet for an evaluation. You veterinarian can perform extractions if necessary and treat gum infections caused by bacteria. Does your pet get anxious at the vet? Homeopathic remedies can help relieve stress and anxiety — plus aid in the prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness on the way there.

Pet dental health tips and products referenced here can be found at Muttropolis, A Utopia for Pets and Their Parents.

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