Show Us Those Pearly Whites
Did you know that your pets need their teeth brushed too? Dental hygiene is just as important to our pets as it is to us. While February is officially National Pet Dental Health Month, we wanted to get a jump start on dental hygiene because it makes for a really good resolution!
If you’ve never brushed your pet’s teeth before it can be overwhelming. We recommend starting slow and breaking it down into pieces.
- Choose a quiet time and place to begin.
- Start small – use a soft cloth or your finger to gently rub the outer surface of your pet’s teeth. Always make sure to be careful to not get bit! If your pet tries to move away or bites – stop immediately!
- Once your pet is comfortable with you rubbing its teeth, you can add in toothpaste. Make sure you use a pet-specific toothpaste. Human toothpaste is not meant to be swallowed, and it can be dangerous to pets.
- Once your pet is comfortable with the previous steps, you can try adding in a toothbrush. Get a toothbrush that has been made specifically for pets.
Always end each brushing session with a treat (preferably a dental treat), play, or praise. This way it makes brushing a more rewarding session for your pet! In return, you will be rewarded with much better breath!
Dental treats are treats that have been specially formulated to help reduce plaque and tartar in pets. We recommend using these treats in addition to brushing.
There are a lot of products out there marketed to help clean pet teeth, but yet they may have no benefit. That is why an organization called the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) created a seal to identify a product as effective for reducing plaque and tartar. Companies who want the seal must go through rigorous testing to prove their products are effective.
See the attachments for a complete list of dog and cat products that have the VOHC seal of approval.
Dental Cleaning (COHAT)
Sometimes brushing and dental treats are not enough, so a pet will need a dental cleaning. This is also known as a comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment (COHAT). A full COHAT includes dental radiographs (to identify problems underneath the gum line), teeth scaling and polishing, and sometimes tooth extractions if necessary! Tune in to February to learn more about COHATs and see all of the care that goes into cleaning your pet’s mouth!