Teeth, Toys, and Treats: Your Guide to Pet Dental Hygiene
Dental care for your pets? From the walking to the poop scooping, you’re already doing plenty to keep your animal friends happy and healthy, right? But maintaining your pet’s dental health is another responsibility that needs to be added to your pet care to-do list, especially since oral health problems can link to other health issues related to the kidney, heart, and liver.
Going to the vet for a teeth cleaning annually isn’t enough to protect your furry friend from the risks of poor dental hygiene, and the costs for these cleanings can be eye-popping; your pet will also be forced to use anesthesia. In honour of Dental Awareness Month, we want to show you the various ways for you to take care of your pet’s oral hygiene.
Simple 3-Step Guide for Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
We highly recommend that you create a dental care system for your pet so that you can maintain their oral health. If you’re new to cleaning your pet’s teeth, here’s our easy-to-follow guide with just three steps:
1. Gradually introduce your pet to teeth cleaning.
Avoid jumping right into a teeth-cleaning routine with your pet. Go to a calm and quiet place that doesn’t include distractions for your pet, and begin the initiation for your companion’s teeth cleaning. Start by dipping a finger into beef bouillon/chicken broth (for dogs) or tuna juice (for cats). Place one hand over your pet’s muzzle and one underneath the jaw. Use your thumbs to push back the lips to reveal your pet’s teeth. Start from the back teeth and work your way to the front on both sides. Make sure to rub your pet’s gum line and teeth in circular motions; the gum line is important because it’s the area where bacteria and food particles gather and create plaque.
2. Time for the real deal: Getting your pet used to the brush.
Once you get your dog or cat accustomed to the brushing actions from the previous step, you can move on to this next step and introduce them to the toothbrush and toothpaste. To do this, first put toothpaste on your finger; you can use a finger toothbrush glove in this step. Rub the paste on your pet’s lips and teeth and let them lick it off; you can also let them lick off your finger. Do this step for at least 5-7 days before you move on to the toothbrush.
When you’re ready to include the toothbrush, put some toothpaste on the brush and let your pet remove it from the brush; this helps them feel more comfortable using the toothbrush over time. Once your dog or cat has accepted the toothbrush and allowed you to use it on them, start brushing in small intervals (approximately 10-20 seconds). Work your way up to about 30-90 seconds. The brush should be at a 45-degree angle and rub against your pet’s gum line as well as their teeth for a thorough cleaning.
Here are a few pet teeth-cleaning options for you:
- Dentipet Toothpaste for Cats & Dogs + Finger Toothbrush
- Tropiclean Fresh Breath Oral Care Kit with Toothbrush (Small & Med/Large)
- Dentipet Finger Brush
3. Always praise your pet during the entire process.
Kudos and kibbles will be the keys to making this necessary dental hygiene routine more enjoyable for you and your pet. Make sure you consistently pet and praise your pet while you practice brushing their teeth; continue doing so even after your animal companion has completed the practice stage and is engaging in regular oral care.
Dental Health Pet Food Options
Poor dental health can be the catalyst for more severe, health-crippling conditions, but you can now add certain foods to your pet’s diet to help protect their teeth and gums. Check out the following products and make them a part of your pet’s diet:
Royal Cain Dental Dry Dog Food: The Royal Cain dry dog food formula features kibbles specially shaped into teeth-cleaning morsels. The texture and shape of these biscuits help brush away plaque and tartar while your dog eats. This dog food formula also contains a tartar-control nutrient to help prevent buildup. Full of other great nutrients to boost your pet’s overall physical well-being, the Royal Cain dog food is a fantastic option to maintain your canine’s health.
Hills Prescription Diet Feline Dental Health Dry Food
Clinically proven to reduce tartar and plaque deposits and remove stains, the Hills Prescription Diet Dental Health Dry Food for cats is formulated by veterinarians and pet nutritionists and provides balanced meals with an emphasis on dental health. The texture of the food morsels ensures that your pet gets teeth cleaning while they chew. Great to add with your cat’s everyday diet, this high-quality dental health food for felines is ideal for pet parents who want to make their pet’s food healthier and more nourishing.
Food & Water Additives for Dental Health:
Poor dental health can be the catalyst for more severe, health-crippling conditions, but you can now add certain foods to your pet’s diet to help protect their teeth and gums. Check out the following products and make them a part of your pet’s diet.
Simply Seaweed Natural Dental Health Care for Cats & Dogs: If you find it hard to brush your cat or dog's teeth, a food additive is the way to go! Simply Seaweed is made of 100% dried and crushed ascophyllum nodosum, a species of kelp, which is a type of seaweed. Not only is kelp a superfood for dogs and cats due to its abundance of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, it works in several ways to improve mouth health, due to its natural anti-adhesive, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Bacteria is prevented from sticking to the tooth enamel, tartar build-up is reduced and existing plaque.
Tropiclean Fresh Breath Water Additive: If you miss out on brushing your pet’s teeth one day or you want added dental hygiene support for your animal companion, try the Tropiclean Fresh Breath Water Additive. This all-natural product is formulated with ingredients such as purified water and chicory root, so it’s safe for pets to ingest on a daily basis. All you need to do is add a tablespoon to your pet’s water bowl each day. The Tropiclean Fresh Breath solution is an excellent and effective alternative to brushing your pet’s teeth daily.
Teeth-Cleaning Pet Treats
Love rewarding your dog or cat with treats? Upgrade ordinary treats to one of the following treats to help promote oral hygiene:
Whimzees Veggie Toothbrush Treats: What’s more fitting for dental health than a toothbrush-shaped treat like Whimzees? These all-natural treats are sugar-free, making them excellent and healthy snacks that your pet can chew. The brush “bristles,” handle ridges, and overall texture of the Whimzee treat help clean your dog’s teeth as they chew on the treat. You can make the Whimzee a go-to treat to maintain your canine’s teeth. They’re also wheat-free, which is great for pets with sensitive stomachs. Whimzee also has all-natural dry dog dental chews like these pig ears.
Greenies: Both for dogs and cats, Greenies is a fun and delicious treat that also doubles as a teeth cleaner. The Greenies for dogs specifically has a toothbrush-like shape with horizontal “bristles” with deep spaces in between to give your pet a more effective cleaning while they chew and entertain themselves with their new favorite snack. Greenies for cats are tasty miniature treats that feature animal shapes with ridges to help get between those hard-to-reach spaces and give your cat’s teeth a thorough cleaning.
BlackCat Treats: Specially formulated with taurine, an essential amino acid that helps maintain your cat’s vision and dental health, BlackCat treats are fantastic when you want to give your pet an extra dose of nutrition during the day. Soft and chewy, these irresistible nibbles also boost your pet’s overall health, making them a great treat choice that you’ll be happy with. Lucky Pet features a variety of BlackCat treat flavours: chicken, fish, lamb, and kangaroo.
All-Natural Dry Dog Treats & Jerky: From pig ears to bully sticks, dry dog treats made of premium, all-natural meat have a tough, chewy texture and meaty flavour that dogs enjoy. The more your dog chews on these treats and breaks them down into smaller pieces, the more teeth-cleaning benefits your pet receives. These treats are long-lasting, too, providing your dog with endless chewing satisfaction. Here are some that you can try:
- SavourLife Australian Kangaroo Strips
- Australian Natural Beef Jerky for Dogs
- Australian Freeze Dried Treats
Everyday Pet Toys That Promote Dental Health
You can keep your furry friend entertained all day long and help remove impurities from their teeth with these pet toys:
Petstages Dental Health Chews Cat Toy
Fun and entertaining, these delightful cat chew toys have a special netting material that flosses between your cat’s teeth while they chew on the toy. The knotted streamers at the ends of the toy make it even more teeth-friendly and provide more chewing satisfaction for your pet.
Made with durable twisted rope material, KONG Knots toys give your dog entertainment, satisfy their chewing needs, and even help prevent plaque and tartar buildup. The fibres of the cotton rope are effective teeth cleaners, and the knotted rope toy also makes it fun for your pet to chew on, so they won’t let go of this toy any time soon.
Petstages Dogwood Chew Stick
Dogs love to chew on sticks they find while exploring outdoors, but, for a safer chew toy that keeps the stick form dogs can’t resist, try the Petstages Dogwood Chew Stick. Featuring grooves along the stick, this innovative toy aids in tartar and plaque removal while your dog chews on it.
Perfect for games of catch and tug, the KONG Wubba is made from strong fabric material that is textured, which help massage your pet’s gums and rubs against their teeth as they play. The streamers at the end of the toy also act as teeth cleaners.
Schedule a visit with your vet
Although it’s recommended that you schedule a teeth cleaning session with your vet at least once a year (to get a professional’s diagnosis of your pet’s current condition), you can still maintain your dog’s or cat’s dental hygiene outside the vet office every day with the right food, treats, oral health essentials or toys; adding a combination of these items to your pet’s daily routine is even better. It’s crucial that you include at least a daily brushing regime to ensure that your pet’s dental health is in great condition. We hope that this blog post gave you a better understanding of how you can prevent dental problems and other conditions that are linked to dental hygiene.