1) Brushing! By far and away the best thing you can do at home is brush your pet’s teeth daily. We know this sounds like a lot, but think of how our mouths would look and smell if we didn’t do this for ourselves! You can use a finger brush or a soft tooth brush, but always remember to use a toothpaste specifically designed for dogs and cats.
2) Chew Toys. This one gets challenging, because honestly there is no perfect chew toy. Many products are too hard and can break your pet’s teeth (for example antlers or bones from the butcher) or so easy to chew that they’re gone in two seconds and are not effective. A good middle ground is a chew that your pet has to work at, but is a bit softer (for example flexible Nylabones or Greenies, etc.). Never leave your pet unattended with a chew toy as they can become choking hazards.
3) Dental diets. There are a few diets that have been specifically designed to help keep your pet’s teeth clean, and they really can help! Our favorite at Desert Ridge Animal Hospital is Hill’s t/d. If your pet is fed this diet exclusively, it is the same as brushing their teeth twice a week and can help reduce gingivitis – not bad at all!
4) Mouth sprays and gels. There are some liquid products designed to be applied directly to your dog or cat’s teeth. These don’t work as well as brushing, chew toys, or the dental diets, but can be a good addition to your pet’s dental care routine.
5) Water additives. These tend to be the easiest to use and, not surprisingly, are not as effective as the previously mentioned options. Like the sprays and gels, though, a few of these products actually can do some good.
Keep in mind that there are a ton of products on the market, and not all of them are actually effective! If you would like specific recommendations about products or would like help designing the right dental care routine for your dog or cat, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with one of our veterinarians.
Finally, if there is already quite a bit of tartar on your furry friend’s teeth or if you’ve been noticing a particularly strong odor coming from their mouth, we are happy to provide a clean slate by performing a professional dental cleaning. Then, after their cleaning, you can use the above ways to keep their mouths looking and smelling great!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to Book an Appointment or call the office at 480-585-3512.