Taking care of your pets’ teeth

Regardless, dental health is a large part of our pets’ well-being and can be a large part of the expense of owning pets.

Most people think dental care involves brushing their pet’s teeth, and if the pet won’t sit still for it, they say, “Oh well, I guess there’s nothing we can do.”

Unfortunately for many of those people, they can end up with pets which require extensive and expensive dental procedures that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars — potentially even the loss of most or all the pet’s teeth.

DreamstimeJust as with people, oral health can be a big contributor to the overall health of your pets.

But there are many things we can do to ensure great dental health for our pets.

The first thing we can do is think about our pets’ diets. Feeding a species-appropriate diet can have marvelous effect on dental health. Yes, I go on all the time about how wonderful raw diets are, but this is one of the biggest benefits. Raw-fed pets usually have wonderful teeth, especially if the have some meaty bones included in their diet. Chicken feet or necks for smaller dogs or cats, backs for medium dogs, or even whole carcasses for larger dogs are all great dental treats that won’t break the bank. There are also many other appropriate bones for pets — just be careful of anything cooked, any sawn bones (such as those from T-bones or pork chops) or anything that might be a choking hazard. You should always supervise any bone consumption.

If raw is not an option, raw bones can still be used and, when fed after a meal, can act as a natural toothbrush as well as a saliva stimulator that can help flush residual carbs from the mouth.

There are products you can add to your pets’ water to help with plaque and tater, there are sprays you can use instead of brushing and many different options of toothpastes and toothbrushes pet owner scan convince their pets to tolerate. Finger brushes and a flavoured enzymatic toothpaste can become an activity a pet might actually enjoy, especially if you get them used to it as a puppy and keep up with it regularly.

I prefer a natural chew without carbs or synthetic ingredients. Anything from a bully stick to Himalayan cheese or even antlers where appropriate. There are many dehydrated or smoked items, such as ears, tracheas, espohagi and tendons that make good dental chews.

If all else fails, there are some “dental chews” that can help. Most won’t eliminate a problem, but they can reduce the issue to a level that isn’t health-threatening. Just a caution be sure to read the labels. Many contain ingredients you don’t want to feed your pet, and many are made offshore by companies you may not be able to trust.

Just as with people, oral health can be a big contributor to the overall health of your pets. Keeping it in check can save you a lot of money and grief later, and maybe even save your pet’s life.

Smile!

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