Many Los Angeles cats and dogs don't receive the dental care they need for oral and overall health. Our vet team gives you 10 useful tips for helping your pet reach and maintain optimal dental health!

1. Don't Skip Dental Check-Ups...

Taking your dog or cat in for an annual dental health check is critical to their overall health and longevity (as well as avoiding costly vet bills later on to treat advanced oral health issues). These visits allow your veterinarian to assess your pet's dental health and should begin before the animal develops dental problems.

2. ... or Professional Veterinary Dental Cleanings

Scaling (removal of build-up and tartar from the tooth's surface and below the gum line) and polishing under anesthesia will most likely be part of your pet's dental check-up. This cleaning not only makes your cat or dog's teeth look cleaner, but it also allows your veterinarian team to closely monitor any emerging or ongoing dental issues.

3. Oral or Dental Treatments for Pets

If your pet has persistent halitosis, gingivitis or advanced gum disease, or dental disease, your veterinarian may recommend one of several available dental treatments or extract damaged, rotting, or otherwise troublesome teeth.

4. Daily Brushing & Oral Hygiene 

If your pet will put up with it, brushing their teeth every day is the best at-home dental care you can give them. To slow or prevent the plaque and tartar build-up that can lead to dental disease, aim for 5 times a week.

Begin by purchasing a toothbrush for dogs or cats as well as a non-toxic pet toothpaste. Introduce them to the process gradually and patiently until they become accustomed to the routine. (If your pet is having difficulty adjusting or the process is stressful, talk to your vet about other ways to keep their teeth clean at home.)

Use a small amount of the pet toothpaste, brush gently in a circular motion, and (if your pet allows it), aim for 30-60 seconds on each side of their mouth. Make sure you reward your pet for their good behavior so that they associate tooth brushing with positive reinforcement. 

5. Don't Forget the Gums!

Your cat or dog's oral health, like that of humans, can benefit from gentle gum massage while you clean their teeth. Because red or inflamed gums are usually the first sign of tooth decay, this is also an excellent opportunity to monitor your pet's gum health.

6. Try A Dental Diet for Your Pet

Your vet can give you specific recommendations for dental diet foods that could be effective for your canine companion or feline friend. 

There are numerous high-quality dry foods for cats and dogs that are designed to reduce plaque buildup on their teeth and inside their mouths. This is typically composed of larger pieces of kibble fibers aligned similarly to toothbrush bristles in order to clean your pet's teeth while they eat. These specialized foods may also slow the progression of dental disease.

7. Offer Your Furry Friend Dental Treats & Chews

Your veterinarian's advice will be useful here, as there are numerous dental treats and chews that can reduce plaque but cannot prevent it. Trained, experienced veterinarians can advise you on which products are best for your dog or cat.

8. Get Your Pet Dental Chew Toys 

Playtime can greatly benefit your pet's dental and oral health! Most pet stores sell a variety of toys designed specifically for your cat or dog to play with and chew on. These toys are designed to clean teeth by removing plaque and preventing tartar buildup.

9. Make Sure Your Pet Has Fresh, Clean Water

Another simple way to help your cat or dog maintain good oral and overall health is to provide them with clean, fresh water every day. Drinking water helps to wash away food debris and bacteria from your pet's mouth after they eat, reducing the likelihood of gingivitis and discomfort.

10. Stinky Breath Isn't Normal!

While our dogs' and cats' breath may not be minty-fresh when their oral health is at its peak, it's critical not to ignore things like noticeably bad breath when your animal companion barks, meows, or yawns right in your face. Aside from being unpleasant, it may indicate underlying oral health issues.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your pet is showing signs of dental issues, contact our Los Angeles vets to book an appointment.