Hello guys, Toki here, sitting in the Potter League. Ever heard someone complain about their pet’s ‘dog breath’ or ‘cat breath’? I’m not entirely sure what that means, but judging by their expressions, it doesn’t sound pleasant! Recently, I heard staff discussing February as Pet Dental Health Month. So, it seems that taking care of your pet’s teeth may just be the key to avoiding terrible dog or cat breath!
Just like humans, dogs and cats can develop plaque and tartar on their teeth. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 70 percent of cats and 80 percent of dogs will experience some form of dental disease by age 3. Improving their dental health not only keeps their breath fresh but can also prevent other diseases like heart disease. , lung, and liver problems.
To keep those pearly whites in top shape, regular brushing is the way to go. Daily brushing is ideal, but if it’s a little more frequent, a few times a week can still make a significant difference.
Start brushing when your pet is young, making it part of their daily routine. However, it’s never too late to start! For first-timers, let your pet sniff the toothbrush and taste a little of the toothpaste. This may take a few days, but the goal is to get them comfortable before brushing begins. If you have a cat, start gently rubbing the sides of his closed mouth to get him used to the sensation.
Treat your furry friend to a treat to make the experience a positive one! Remember to use pet-specific toothpaste to avoid upsetting their stomachs. You can find flavors like chicken, peanut butter, and even seafood (mostly for cats!).
Once your pet is familiar with the brush and paste, start brushing gently. Lift the sides of their mouth to reach the back teeth, aiming for a 45° angle. At first, keep it short, but as they get used to it, gradually increase the brushing time from 45 seconds to 1 minute. Although daily brushing is recommended, even 3 to 4 times a week can be beneficial.
If brushing doesn’t seem possible, there are alternative products such as food additives, rinses, gels, and chewables that can help control plaque and tartar. Consult your veterinarian to find the best option for your pet.
Don’t forget the importance of an annual dental checkup by your veterinarian. They can spot signs of serious dental problems and recommend professional cleanings if needed. Yes, it involves anesthesia, but it’s the most accurate way to examine and clean your pet’s teeth with the least amount of stress.
So, pet parents, let’s keep those smiles shining!
‘Until next time, your friend Toki
Send questions to Tuki, 87 Oliphant Lane, Middletown, RI, 02842 or email TukiTalk@PotterLeague.org. The Potter League for Animals can be found at 87 Oliphant Lane in Middletown and online at potterleague.org..