Does your pet’s breath smell? Well, it may be more than just morning puppy breath. That’s right, the foul odor coming from your pet’s mouth may actually be a sign of a more serious health issue that you simply can’t afford to ignore.
Bad breath can often be a sign that your beloved companion may be facing possible damage and decay within their mouth, for sure, but the potential risks actually go much deeper and can affect their internal organs if oral health issues are left untreated. But, what can you do, as your pet’s caretaker, to ensure that this doesn’t happen? Well, you can help combat dental health issues with regular teeth brushings. By brushing your pet’s teeth once a day, much as it does with humans, it removes plaque and keeps those chompers and gums healthy. And, it only takes a few short minutes.
So, to make sure that you stay ahead of the storm, let’s take a look at some ways you can learn to get your pet to tolerate these healthy habits to better manage their dental care and overall health:
- Invest in a special pet toothbrush and toothpaste, but make sure the toothpaste is specifically made for pet use. Whatever you do, do not use human toothpaste, as it contains additives that may be hazardous to your pet’s health.
- To get your pet used to too brushings, start them at an early age. But, be sure to wait until after they’ve lost all of their puppy teeth. This usually happens around four months of age.
- Try to brush your pet’s teeth when they’re already calm and quiet. You don’t want to interrupt play time or varied states of energy and emotion. And, once you do find the appropriate moment to attempt brushing, be sure to have some treats on-hand for rewards.
- If your pet isn’t used to someone touching their mouth, start out slowly. You’ll need to build their tolerance level up over several weeks.
- As you work with your pet over the weeks, slowly progress from manipulating their lips to running your fingers along their teeth and gums. Then, introduce a soft, moist cloth on your finger.
- Once your pet starts to tolerate a finger in their mouth, then you can start to introduce the toothbrush. Start by touching it to their face so they can get used to the sensation, and let them taste the toothpaste.
- Again, you’ll want to introduce the toothbrush very slowly. So, don’t even try to brush their whole mouth on the first go. Just put the toothbrush under their lips, and work it around, gently.
- Once your pet gets used to the toothbrush, focus your energy on brushing only the outer parts of the teeth, especially around the gum line. There’s no need to try to force the toothbrush way inside of their mouth to reach the inner sides of the teeth.
- Make a habit of having toothbrush time in the same place in your home every time you sit down to do this with your pet. This will get them used to the routine, and some may even come to look forward to it.
- Be sure to give treats and/or praise as a reward for good behavior after each successful brushing.
If you suspect your pet is having dental issues, don’t wait to visit your veterinarian. They will be able to assess and address any issues your pet may be experiencing so that they can get back to living a happy, healthy life.