If you’re a pet parent, you no doubt have a lot on your plate. From W-A-L-Ks to snuggles to cleaning up “presents” on the carpet, there’s not much time left for one of the most important areas of dog and cat ownership … pet dental care.
If you’ve been giving your pet’s teeth the “brush off,” don’t be too hard on yourself. Most pet owners aren’t doing enough for their pets’ smiles.
According to a pet dental poll, only 8 percent of dog owners and 3 percent of cat owners brush their furry friends’ teeth on a regular basis.
February is National Pet Dental Health Month, the perfect time for getting smart about pet dental care … and discovering just how easy it can be!
Why Take Care of Your Pet’s Adult Dog or Cat Teeth?
The most obvious benefit is fresh breath, but pet dental care is so much more than that. Taking care of your pet’s teeth will help prevent periodontal disease, the #1 clinical health condition affecting adult dogs and cats, according to the American Veterinary Dental College.
Periodontal disease occurs in four stages, beginning with gingivitis (an inflammation or reddening of the gums) and ending with advanced periodontitis, which is the loss of bone and soft tissue.
It starts with plaque, that clear, sticky stuff that builds up on the teeth. Just like when we humans eat, plaque naturally forms on our teeth after meals. We need help to remove it via a toothbrush and dental appointments, and so do our pets!
Plaque will eventually harden into tartar (a substance that’s yellow or brown in appearance), a process that can start within three days. When tartar gets up under the gum line, it begins to infect the gums and damage the tissues. Left uninterrupted, tooth loss is the likely outcome.
Not only is this process painful, but dental disease can actually take years off a pet’s life.Why? Because tartar is packed with harmful bacteria. As it circulates through the body via the bloodstream, it can negatively impact the vital organs, like the heart and kidneys.
Aha Moment: tartar can only be removed with a professional teeth cleaning. That’s why it’s better for the pet’s health (and the owner’s wallet) to be proactive and stop the plaque attack right away.
What Are the Signs of Gum Disease in Pets?
Bad breath is usually the first warning sign, but sometimes there are no signs at all. That’s why prevention is always the best measure.
And – you’ll feel good knowing that in its early stages, gum disease is completely reversible.
Warning: don’t get bit by “it won’t happen to my pet” syndrome. Here’s a shocking-but-true fact: 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats already have some form of gum disease by age 3.
If your pet is in a more advanced stage of gum disease, here are the signs you may notice:
- Visible tartar
- Bloody saliva
- Loose or missing teeth
- Blood in water bowl or on chew toys
- Difficulty picking up food or chewing it
- Not wanting to be pet on the face or head
- Red or swollen gums (gums should be light pink)
Did you know? Small dog breeds, such as Dachshunds, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, and Yorkies, are especially prone to dental disease.
Dog & Cat Teeth Cleaning … What Are Your Options?
#1. Brush Your Pet’s Teeth
This is still the tried-and-true way to clean your pet’s teeth and keep plaque from overtaking his or her smile. Just make sure you have the right tools for the job.
Never use human toothpaste on your pet, as ingredients like fluoride, sweeteners and xylitol can make a pet sick. We recommend Oxyfresh Pet Dental Gel because it’s free of alcohol, mint oils and artificial flavor additives.
Also important: steer clear of a human toothbrush, as it simply isn’t the right shape to navigate a pet’s smile. There are many pet toothbrushes to choose from, and finger brushes are a popular option because they’re less bulky and just slip on right over the finger.
Once you have the right supplies, you’ll still need to look before you leap to increase your odds of tooth brushing success. To learn exactly how to do it, check out “How to brush your pet’s teeth … without losing your sanity.”
Pro Tip: Be consistent. In order for pet tooth brushing to pay off, it needs to be done at least 3 times a week for dogs and two times a week for cats.
#2. Give Your Pet a Daily Water Additive
Giving your pet a dental water additive is a great supplement to brushing, because let’s be honest, most of us don’t have the time or desire to brush our pets’ teeth every day.
As the name suggests, a pet water additive just goes straight into the pet’s water bowl. Worried that your pet might turn its nose up at it? Oxyfresh Pet Dental Water Additive outsmarts picky pets because it’s tasteless and odorless. This vet-recommended water additive is formulated with a patented combo of Oxygene® and zinc to freshen the breath and quickly clean pets’ teeth and gums.
Nerd Alert: Oxygene® is a brilliant, safe-for-the-whole-pack ingredient that doesn’t MASK bad breath molecules … it oxidizes them, turning sulfur bonds (stinky) into sulfite ions (non-stinky), while neutralizing plaque and bacteria. No harmful byproducts. It’s 100% non-toxic and 100% awesome! No other line of pet products has it!
#3: Use a Pet Dental Spray
This is for all the dogs (and cats) out there with a serious bad breath problem … you know who you are!
Like water additives, dental sprays are a quick, convenient supplement to brushing and perfect for fresh breath on the go! Owners, pets and vets love the ease and effectiveness of Oxyfresh Pet Dental Spray, formulated with Oxygene® and zinc.
What’s right for you and your pet?
Whether it’s a water additive, on-the-go dental spray, or a dental gel, you’ll love how easy-peasy Oxyfresh makes pet home dental care. And be sure to partner with your veterinarian to have your pet’s teeth regularly examined during appointments.
P.S. Help other pets put their best paw forward, and share this post with their owners!