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  • Writer's pictureKaaya Sharma

How to maintain your pet's oral hygiene

Your pet's oral health is a crucial part of maintaining their overall health. Sufficient dental care practices go a long way in preventing pain, tooth loss or decay, bad breath, loss of appetite, and various infections and diseases. Because of its importance, it is crucial for all pet owners to be aware of how to be proactive in taking care of their pet’s oral hygiene.

1. Learn how to brush their teeth

According to most experts, it is ideal to brush your pet's teeth once a day. You can use a pet toothbrush, wipes, or simply your finger to brush their teeth. Whatever method you decide, three times a week should be the minimum in effectively removing build-up and plaque in your pet's mouth. Below are the basic three steps to brushing your pet's teeth:


Step 1: Buy a toothbrush and toothpaste for your pet at your local pet store. You can ask your vet for product recommendations that would best suit your pet.


Step 2: Start by slowly opening your pet's mouth when they are calm and relaxed. Before using a toothbrush, gently rub their gums and teeth with your finger or a gauze. This will allow them to get used to something touching their teeth.


Step 3: After a couple of days of this, or when your pet seems more comfortable, you can begin to use a toothbrush. Make sure to move the brush in circular motions and focus on areas where there is more plaque.


The earlier you start brushing your pet's teeth, the better. If you set a routine from childhood, this will eventually become a ritual they are used to with no hesitation. They may even grow to love it!


2. Ensure regular dental check-ups and cleanings

It is a good idea to get your pet's teeth checked at least once every 6-12 months. If you are unable to brush their teeth daily, you may want to get even more frequent check-ups. This will ensure that plaque doesn't build up to an extent where it leads to other health complications. Just like humans, pets need regular dental cleanings to maintain healthy teeth and gums!


3. Provide plenty of dental chew toys and treats

In situations where brushing your pet's teeth daily is simply not possible, there are other alternatives that can keep your pet's teeth clean, healthy, and strong. Generally, you can find chew toys and bones at your local pet store which not only increase jaw strength but can also cleanse large amounts of plaque and food that may be stuck in the mouth. You can also ask your pet's veterinarian for chew toys and bone suggestions that may be beneficial for your particular pet. Not only will these toys and bones maintain your pet's oral hygiene, but they will love chewing on them too!


4. Avoid wet foods if possible

Feeding dry food and kibble instead of wet foods can help keep your pet's teeth clean more and maintain good breath. Although both dry and wet food can increase plaque, wet foods are more adhesive and are more likely to stick to your pet's teeth. This can lead to a higher risk of decay, infection, and bad breath.


5. Consult your veterinarian for advice

When in doubt, it is never a bad idea to ask your pet's veterinarian for advice on oral hygiene. They will be more than happy to assist you in creating a healthy routine as well as recommend foods and products to maximize your pet's oral health.


In addition, if you see your pet having a loss of appetite, increased pain when eating, bad breath, or an abnormal amount of plaque on their teeth, it is definitely a good idea to schedule an appointment with your vet for their expert advice.

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