Just like kids, pets need a little help when it comes to developing proper dental hygiene habits and routines. Since pets can’t handle their own dental hygiene routines on their own, their owners need to be the ones to lend a hand by purchasing the appropriate products, toys and chews that best support dog and cat oral health.
After all, statistics indicate that most dogs and cats will develop periodontal disease by the age of three. But, when coupled with support from a veterinary dentist, at-home pet teeth cleaning can only help reduce the likelihood that complications related to dental health can advance.
As most pet owners know, oral health is linked to overall health, in dogs, cats and even humans! Poor oral health, particularly among animals experiencing advanced periodontal disease, can impact the health of other bodily systems and functions — especially the kidneys, the liver and the heart. The bacteria that is present in the gums of a dog or cat can find its way into the bloodstream and cause complications that interfere with the functions of those organs.
So, when it comes to developing healthy dental routines for dogs and cats at home, there are a few must-have items on the list that every pet owner should make sure they have on hand.
Pet Dental Cleaning
For brushes, Chewy.com keeps a running list of the best dog and cat toothbrushes according to customer reviews. Cat and dog owners can choose from a dual-end brush, with a small sized head on one end and a larger head on the other, or a finger brush style. The H&H brand gets high praise from pet owners, as does Nylabone, PetSmile and Virbac.
The brushes are easy to use and style preference boils down to what a dog, cat or owner prefers.
As far as toothpaste goes, the Virbac brand makes dog and cat toothpaste that gets high marks from pet owners and veterinarians. The CET Enzymatic toothpaste, which comes in a variety of meat-inspired flavors, including poultry, won’t foam up and are designed to be safely swallowed. In addition, PetSmile Professional Pet Toothpaste is backed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council and includes an agent that helps fight bacteria and prevent plaque.
Pet Dental Chews
To supplement the at-home cleanings dogs have between appointments for veterinary dental cleanings, dog owners have an abundance of chews to choose from that support fresh breath and cleaner teeth.
Veterinarians have approved the popular Greenies brand, which actually look like chewable toothbrushes, as well as Pedigree Dentastix. Other vet-backed chews include Milk-Bone Original Brushing Chews, OraVet Hygiene Dental Chews, Purina DentaLife Chews and Virbac CET Veggiedent tartar control chews.
When it comes to “toys” that assist with dog dental health, there are also a few options dog owners can explore. Arm & Hammer makes a few chewy options that help to remove tartar, act as a squeaky and could be used for a casual game of fetch.
The best advice for dog and cat owners who are looking to introduce dental hygiene routines into the lives of their pets is to have patience and persistence. Every dog and cat has its own personality, as every pet owner can appreciate, which means some will be more willing to go with the flow than others.
Stick with it, though. At-home dental hygiene routines for dogs and cats are important, and they complement dental veterinary visits.
Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit is a trusted veterinary team serving the Phoenix, Peoria, East Mesa and Tucson metro areas, with accessible locations in each market, offering highly specialized surgery, quality spay and neuter procedures, and accessible dental care for pets. Contact us to learn more about our specialized services or to schedule an appointment.