The dynamics of tooth and gum health for dogs and cats are similar to those of human beings. Pets also get plaque build-up thanks to the modern foods we feed them, and their plaque also leads to gum and tooth problems, unless we help our beloved friends do something about this.
Mother Nature’s Method:
Wild animals are naturally predisposed to eating healthy foods that feed their teeth and gums with essential nutrients and crunchiness keep their plaque levels low. Their saliva does the rest, and so their teeth outlive them as long as their gums stay healthy.
The Modern Threats that Pets Face:
Unfortunately, many of us have broken all these rules with love. We feed our cats and dogs soft food that does not clean their teeth. The result is inevitable – plaque builds, teeth rot and gum disease becomes an all too frequent possibility.
How to Lend Mother Nature a Helping Hand:
The solution is to introduce a disciplined approach that keeps the plaque away from your pet’s teeth. There are three ways in which to do this – give them chewy food and toys, brush their teeth and seek professional assistance from a dentist. The optimum solution is a combination of the first two of these.
Self-cleaning programs are the easiest way to keep your pets mouth clean. Feed your animal pellets that are crunchy and restrict snacking. That means no chocolates, and definitely no sweets for your pets.
Brushing your Pet’s Teeth:
The first step is to start with a clean slate. That means that if your pet has a build-up of tartar on their teeth (typically on the gum line) you need the assistance of your veterinarian to work off the accumulation so that you can start from a level playing field.
• Buy a soft-bristled toothbrush and veterinary tooth gel.
• Your animal will enjoy the extra attention as long as their first and ongoing impressions are pleasant. Introduce the idea slowly and move at your pet’s pace.
• Know where to concentrate – plaque tends to build up on upper back teeth first, and you will need to get into those difficult spaces if you are to succeed. You also need to brush your pet’s teeth daily, because it takes just 36 hours for soft plaque to harden into tartar that brushing does not remove.
• Plan to brush at the same time every day. Exercise your pet first to relax them or give them a treat, so that they learn to look forward to what follows.
• First let your pet become used to the smell and taste of the veterinary gel toothpaste, then run your ginger along the upper gum line to accustom them to the sensation. If the animal resists stop right away, and try again tomorrow. This is because you cannot afford to allow a habit of resistance to develop. Always offer a treat at the end of every session.
• If all is well, insert the toothbrush loaded with some gel into your pet’s mouth and brush gently. Concentrate less on the action and more on comforting your pet. There is time enough later to perfect your brushing techniques.
When you follow these steps patiently and regularly, you will be on your way to having a healthier and happier pet (not to mention a plaque-free mouth for your pets).