General Health

Posted on: February 6, 2017

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Pet Dental Care Is More Than Just Brushing

There’s more to pet dental care than just brushing your dog’s or cat’s teeth. And that’s good news because let’s be honest, do you brush your pet’s teeth every day? Once a week? Ever?

It is unfortunate—there’s no magic pill to keep the mouth healthy and the smile bright; regular brushing with pet-specific toothpaste is an important part of pet dental care. A brushing routine can be started at any time, but beginning at the puppy or kitten stage is recommended. Ask your veterinarian for help in establishing a brushing routine.pet dental care

The good news is there are other ways you can provide your pet with good dental care! Let’s start with some options you may not have considered:

Probiotics

A range of bacteria thrive in the gut of humans and animals. Probiotics are living microorganisms—like those found in yogurt—that promote healthy bacteria. When the bacteria are in balance, the health benefits include a dynamic digestive system, a strong immune system, and good oral health.

When there is an imbalance, the bad bacteria can flourish causing infection and inflammation, which when left unchecked, results in periodontal disease and bad breath.

“We now have another tool to help combat the destructive bacteria that cause abscesses and infections in the mouth. The beneficial bacteria in the probiotic supplement found in Entero by TruBenefitsTM aid in mouth and throat health, and establish a healthy oral flora that competes with the destructive bacteria,” said Dr. Laura Weis, owner of Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care.

This probiotic supplement is specially formulated for pets and contains the naturally-occurring microorganisms that promote healthy oral and intestinal health. Additional supplements that support pet dental health include vitamins and minerals such as vitamins E and calcium fluoride, as well as an antioxidant like coenzyme 10.

Specialty food and treats

Contrary to popular opinion, dry kibble does not help to clean your pet’s teeth. Kibble fractures when your pet bites down so it doesn’t “scrape” against the teeth; therefore, dry kibble itself does not aid in dental care or improve oral health.  There are a few prescription dental foods that, when fed as the majority of the diet, will help to keep the teeth clean. Foods and treats that promote dental health may also contain natural enzymes that help break down the bacteria in plaque that leads to destructive tartar.  Look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal on any treats, food or other dental aids. This certification process assures the products actually work!

Raw bones and dental toyspet dental care

Raw bones can be a good choice…and what dog doesn’t enjoy gnawing on a tasty bone?! But they are not without risk; hard bones can cause teeth to fracture. In addition, cooked bones should never be given to your pet! Cooking bones makes them dry and soft which can lead to dangerous splintering and breakage. Consult with your veterinarian about what kind of bone is appropriate for the size and breed of your dog. Hard rubber toys such as a KongTM or shapes with ridges or a nubby texture are also good for pets to chew on.

And last but certainly not least…

Professional exams and cleanings

Schedule a dental exam and professional cleaning with your veterinary practice. Would…should…you go a lifetime without ever visiting a dentist? No. Dental radiographs will show problems in the tooth or under the gum line that cannot be detected with a simple look in the mouth. A professional cleaning can remove plaque and resolve problems like cracked, loose, or rotting teeth.

A healthy mouth supported by preventive pet dental care is a win-win for you and your dog or cat.  As always, consult with your veterinarian about your pet’s dental care routine, and which diet, supplements, and products are best for your pet.

Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care offers comprehensive care including preventive pet dental care and oral surgery for dogs and cats. The practice also offers non-anesthetic dental cleanings through Pet Dental Services for dogs and cats that qualify.

Call 215-345-6960 to schedule an exam and consultation with one of our veterinarians to discuss your pet’s dental care and ask about the probiotic Entero by TruBenefitsTM. And if your pet is groomed regularly, ask if a teeth brushing service is offered. Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center—located next to Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care—has a full-service grooming salon that offers teeth brushing.