Every Dog Needs a Dentist
While tooth and gum issues are common, they’re also highly preventable. Take matters into your own hands to keep your pets from being all bark and no bite.
Ask your vet whether your dog or cat needs a professional cleaning. If it’s a severe or complicated situation, request a referral to a veterinary dentist. The procedure should be done under anesthesia and can cost between $200 and $600.
Purchase supplies for home cleanings. Buy a small, soft-bristle toothbrush or a finger brush (a cotton swab works for cats), and be sure to select pet-friendly toothpaste flavors, like poultry for dogs and fish for cats.
Let your pet lick toothpaste off your finger. As the animal gets used to the taste, try brushing a tooth or two. Work up to the entire mouth over a few weeks, then aim to brush every day.
Give your pet tartar-fighting food and treats designed for dental health and approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. Clean your pet’s toothbrush in the dishwasher once a week to prevent bacteria.
Look for these 5 problems
Even with good oral habits, issues can still occur. Spot-check teeth and talk to your vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
Bad breath Take a whiff of your dog’s or cat’s mouth to make sure it isn’t smelly.
Discoloration Gums shouldn’t be red and swollen. Healthy teeth are white, not brownish or stained.
Bleeding This is a sign of gingivitis. Daily brushing will help fight it off.
Broken teeth Your pet’s teeth shouldn’t be chipped or cracked.
Exposed roots Only the crowns should be visible above the gums.
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