As a pet parent, there is a lot you can do at home to help minimize periodontal disease, the most common oral health problem in dogs and cats today. Consistent and frequent at-home dental care will aid in the removal of plaque and tartar that builds up on teeth, which left untreated causes periodontal disease and that all too familiar “doggy breath”, a direct sign of the disease. Below is a brief overview of veterinarian recommended options for at-home dental care that have been proven to be of benefit to pets.
Brushing is the single most effective way to prevent plaque and tartar buildup for dogs and cats. It is recommended that your pet receive consistent daily teeth brushing. There is no benefit to your pet if teeth brushing is performed only once in a while. To brush your pet’s teeth at home you will need pet-specific toothpaste (human toothpaste is not safe for pets) that come in appealing pet flavors such as chicken or salmon. You will also need a toothbrush designed for pets, as they are soft and angled to get the back teeth. The key to brushing is to be patient and consistent, overtime your pet will accept brushing.
Chlorhexidine oral rinse and gels are very effective and safe anti-plaque treatment. One simply squirts a small amount inside both cheeks. The gel is rubbed directly on the teeth. Your pet’s tongue and lips will spread the rinse or gel around the mouth.
Oravet dental chews for dogs are very effective in preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar. They are the only dental chew to contain delmopinol, the active ingredient that creates a barrier against plaque, tartar, and bad breath. At this time, there are no dental chews available for cats.
In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe a dental diet such as Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Dental that utilizes a unique kibble design to promote chewing and “scrub” the teeth and includes ingredients to help prevent tartar and plaque.