Pet breath—the unpleasant oral odor may be common, but it isn’t healthy. In fact, it’s a good sign that your furry friend may have dental disease, or other trouble brewing in her oral cavity. What can you do about it? A healthy mouth starts with a regular oral-hygiene regimen, a dedicated owner, and regular veterinary care. Consider the following tips to keep your pet’s chompers looking and feeling great. 

#1: Start your pet’s dental routine early

Like many health conditions, dental disease and other oral problems are preventable. Beginning an at-home oral-care routine early in life adds two benefits. Firstly, it helps prevent plaque, tartar, and gingivitis from the beginning. Secondly, the earlier you begin brushing your pet’s teeth, the more willing she will be to accept this routine, saving you future frustration.

Start by handling your young pet as frequently and safely as possible. Not only will handling and restraint help her become comfortable with toothbrushing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming, but also your life will be infinitely easier. Start by gently lifting your pet’s lips, caressing her gums, and opening her mouth often. Always reward your pet with a sweet treat or play session when she allows you to handle these sensitive areas. With time and persistence, you can move on to toothbrushing.

#2: Begin your pet’s toothbrushing regimen

Daily toothbrushing is, by far, the best way to keep your pet’s oral cavity in tip-top shape. But, while the idea of wrangling your pet for an oral-care session may make you cringe, brushing her teeth does not have to be stressful—a slow, gentle start and consistency are key to a successful regimen. As with behavior and house training, an oral-care routine with your pet requires patience and diligence. Start by purchasing a Veterinary Oral Health Council-approved toothbrush kit from Loving Family Animal Hospital, or your local pet store, and allowing your pet to become familiar with the toothpaste flavor and texture. Slowly work up to using a finger brush or a toothbrush, and begin by brushing one tooth, then two teeth, and so on. Working up to brushing the entire mouth may take several weeks for some pets, but that is OK. For particularly resistant or aggressive pets, toothbrushing may not be possible at all, and that is OK, too. In that case, consult our veterinary team for alternative dental-care tips. 

#3: Let your pet chew

While we’re not recommending your pet gnaw on your newly upholstered sofa, pets have an innate desire to chew, and providing them with appropriate chewing devices can help keep their mouths healthy. Chewing provides the mechanical motion your pet needs to scrape plaque and bacteria off the teeth, all while providing an enjoyable activity. Many chewable treat products, such as Greenies or C.E.T. chews, are available, many with the added benefit of an enzymatic coating to help keep plaque at bay. 

#4: Consider an alternative pet dental product

When daily toothbrushing is not feasible, a myriad of other pet dental products are available to help fill the gaps. From oral rinses and wipes, to water additives, to food supplements, our veterinary team can help you choose the right product for your pet. In fact, during February, we are offering a special 20% discount on all dental products, so check them out. 

#5: Schedule a dental consultation for your pet

Last, but certainly not least, a professional dental consultation is invaluable for your pet’s oral and overall health, and no oral-care routine is complete without this important exam. Year-round, we offer a free dental consultation with a veterinary technician, who will determine if a dental cleaning is necessary. We provide our clients with an estimate at this appointment, and a $50 forward-booking incentive if you schedule a dental cleaning during the visit.

Contact us today for your free consultation, or visit us to get our February discount on all dental products.