At some point, most pets do need to go under anesthesia for a thorough dental cleaning. By taking some simple steps at home, however, you may be able to decrease the frequency these cleanings are needed and help prevent problems that result in more extensive dental work.
- Brush your pet’s teeth! Even if you can’t brush every day, developing a routine with your pet is one of the most effective ways of stopping plaque and tartar buildup.
- Introduce your pet to tooth brushing slowly using lots of praise. Start by introducing your finger into the mouth (dipping it in something tasty like broth or tuna helps!)
- Keep sessions short and positive!
- Once your pet tolerates your finger, you can slowly introduce a soft, wet toothbrush.
- Once your pet tolerates brushing you can introduce him to a special veterinary toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste for your pet.
- Don’t force it. Some pets do not allow their teeth to be brushed. If your pet becomes irritated or aggressive, don’t push the issue.
- Utilize products advocated by your veterinarian to help prevent plaque and tartar. Certain treats and foods have been shown to help prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar. These are particularly helpful for pets that do not tolerate brushing. We would be happy to assist you in selecting products appropriate for your pet.
- Avoid table scraps! These increase the speed at which plaque and tartar accumulate, as well as causing other problems.
- See your vet. Your pet’s semi-annual wellness appointments are the best time to discuss your pet’s dental health and what further steps should be taken.