How’s your pet’s dental health?
Even after all these years of connecting with devoted dog moms all over the world, I’m still surprised by the number of people who underestimate the importance of good dental health for their pets.
It’s a fact that dental disease impacts 89 percent of dogs and 83 percent of cats age 3 and up and with shocking statistics like that, what makes you think your pet is safe?
February is National Pet Dental Health Month, making right now the perfect time to talk about ways to ensure your dog’s dental hygiene is the best it can be. After all, everything we can do to help our dogs live longer, healthier lives is the goal of every dog mom. Am I right?
There are so many myths when it comes to our pets’ mouths and dental health. For some of the silliest ones, take a look at this infographic, and then we’ll chat some more below.
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Okay, be honest: how many of those myths did you believe?
Let me ask you another question: do you know the 7 signs of dental disease in dogs and cats? Recognizing these symptoms and seeking immediate veterinary care for your pet is imperative.
But even more important? Being proactive and preventing those signs from occurring in the first place. It’s not complicated.
3 Steps to Dog Dental Care
So what can you do to ensure that your dog or cat has the best possible dental health? It’s really a very simple 3-step process:
- Take your pet for a dental exam at least once per year;
- Talk to your vet about an at-home dental regime;
- Schedule regular dental cleanings for your pet, if your vet feels they’re necessary.
Notice that I didn’t say you have to brush your pet’s teeth every day, because I’ll be totally honest with you: I don’t do that with my dogs. I do brush them occasionally, but we’ve never gotten into a set routine of doing it daily.
Now if you’re one of those dog moms who does brush her dog’s teeth daily (or at least on a regular basis), my kudos to you! Doing so can be challenging, but it’s definitely a commitment to your pet’s good health and for that, I commend you.
My girl, Nike, is about to turn 10 years old; can you believe it! A couple of months ago, she had her annual dental exam at the vet’s office and he was very pleased with how she’s doing. In fact he was so pleased, he said he doesn’t feel a cleaning is in order at this time. That means we must be doing something right at home.
So, what are we doing that’s working so well? We follow some simple advice from Cesar Milan, as well as a few of our own ideas.
Dry food is better for your pet’s dental health than soft food because it’s less likely to stick to the teeth and gums. Although we supplement our dogs’ diet with “dog-friendly people foods” like oatmeal, yogurt, bananas, and apples, Nike and Georgie eat a premium dry dog food every day.
Synthetic chew toys and bones
These help keep teeth clean and are generally not hard enough to cause a dog’s teeth to crack. Nike and I like Nylabone for powerful chewers, and our vet has given his nod of approval. He’s also okay with elk and deer antlers as long as we monitor the dogs while they chew on them.
Greenies. Oh my goodness, y’all. I have to spell G-r-e-e-n-i-e-s because Nike and Georgie are so obsessed with them. They get one every single morning and they’ve both been known to “fib” to their dad, letting him believe I haven’t already given them one so that they can have a second one.
Adding a dental water additive to your dog’s water is a simple way to improve her oral health. It will also help to eliminate bad breath.
Rope toys are another easy way to help keep your dog’s teeth free of build-up from food, plaque, and tartar. Of course, I highly recommend supervising your dog when she is chewing on a rope toy.
I credit all of these things for Nike and Georgie’s excellent oral health and even though this regime works well for us, I strongly recommend that you consult with your veterinarian to come up with a program that works for you and your dog.
Oh, and here’s another idea: DIY doggie breath mints! My dogs love these, and they definitely do help with doggie breath.
But remember this: just like mints and gum aren’t a substitute for proper human dental care, a doggie breath mint isn’t an acceptable dental health plan for your mutt. Even if you whip these up as a special breath freshening treat, it’s still important to have a real dental care regime in place.
Amazing pet dental health doesn’t have to be complicated, as you can see. It just has to be a priority, and doing it properly will improve your dog’s health and life in the long run.
What do you do to ensure your dog’s good dental health?
During National Pet Dental Health Month and beyond, we should be focused on making sure our dogs’ oral hygiene is the best it can be. I’d love to know how you do this with your own dog. Let’s chat about it in comments or over in my private Facebook group for dog moms! See you there!