February is National Pet Dental Health Month, but at Juanita Bay Veterinary Hospital we believe that every month is a good time to focus on keeping your pet smiling for years to come. That’s because your pet’s teeth are key to their overall well-being.
Behind your pet’s pearly whites could be some seriously dirty secrets. Did you know that, by age three, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some evidence of periodontal disease?
At advanced stages, dental disease can significantly impact a pet’s quality of life, making eating difficult due to mouth pain. Plus, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause heart, liver, and kidney complications. Keeping up with the cleanliness of your pet’s teeth and their overall dental health can prevent years of discomfort, disease, and lost teeth.
Speaking of prevention, one of the best things you as a pet parent can do to ensure you’re your furry friend’s good dental health – besides scheduling regular checkups with us – is brush their teeth on a regular basis. If you’re intimidated by the prospect of brushing your pet’s teeth, you’re not alone. Here are a few tips to make the process go more smoothly:
- Get comfortable. Instead of standing over your dog, try kneeling or sitting in front of him or her. Practice lifting your pet’s lip to see the teeth and reward with praise.
- Use a toothbrush and toothpaste made for pets. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that may hurt your pet’s stomach. Finger brushes work well for smaller dogs and cats; you’ll need a larger brush with a handle for big dogs.
- Go slow at first. Start with rubbing your pet’s gums and teeth with your finger to see how well they tolerate it. Before using the brush, let them lick some of the toothpaste off your finger or the brush.
- Be gentle. Finish with the bottom front teeth. Focus on the outside of the teeth—the surface facing the cheek is the most prone to plaque and tartar buildup.
- Be patient. Getting used to brushing might take several sessions. Your pet’s gums may bleed a little at first, but it’s only an emergency if bleeding doesn’t stop.
Have questions about your pet’s dental health? Or want to schedule an exam? Give us a call at 425-242-4057! We’ll turn your pet’s frown upside down.