One topic we are very passionate about here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital is pet oral health! Pets are living longer, happier lives than ever before, so maintaining good oral hygiene is just as important for them as it is for humans.
Most pet owners are great at recognizing when their dog’s or cat’s teeth need a professional
cleaning, and it’s important to make an annual cleaning part of every pet’s health care routine. But before and in between cleanings, there is a lot that pet parents can do at home to keep their fur babies’ mouths healthy. For some trusted veterinary advice, we turned to Dr. Jennifer Walker, one of our veterinarians here at Kingsbrook!
- So why is caring for my pet’s teeth at home so important?
Dr. W: For many reasons! Oral health affects every organ in the body, and disease can be hidden. Preventing that disease is our goal.
2. What is the best thing I can do to keep my puppy or kitten’s teeth healthy?
Dr. W: Brushing is best, but there are lots of options. We tailor an oral home care plan to each pet by working with our clients. If you aren’t ready for brushing just yet, there are wipes, rinses, and even a tartar control diet that serve as great starting points.
3. My older cat or dog doesn’t like having his mouth handled, but I am interested in starting an oral home care routine. What can I do?
Dr. W: Each pet is different, so we recommend talking with your veterinarian. I’ve had success with some pets by introducing the toothpaste on a favorite treat.
4. Between our pets, my job, and the kids, I am so busy lately and I don’t have a lot of room in my schedule to add another commitment. Is there anything I can do that is faster, or that takes less time?
Dr. W: I completely understand! Oral home care didn’t used to be part of my routine either. I have 2 kids, 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a full-time job. However, I was challenged to try for one month and I was surprised at how it worked out. My normal routine is to wake up, feed my dog, and start my coffee. So I decided to start while my coffee was brewing but kept forgetting to do it. I put the toothbrush and toothpaste in his food cup as a visual reminder when I went to feed him. I started by just letting my dog lick toothpaste in his food bowl, and over time worked up from there. Now it takes me about 30 seconds to brush his teeth all while I’m waiting for my morning coffee. A completely different routine may work better for you. One of our CSRs put her dog’s toothbrush in the bathroom right next to her own toothbrush, so she remembers to brush every night. If your kids are old enough, you can even make it their job to brush—you can help teach responsibility and keep your pet healthy.