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Dental Home Care by Dr. Cindy Rodgerson

Dental Home Care is designed to keep your pet’s breath fresh and their kisses welcome.

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) feels that daily brushing is the gold standard to remove plaque from your pets’ teeth. Plaque is a combination of saliva, food particles and bacteria, and leads to the build up of hard tartar/calculus – no amount of brushing can break through this! Only a professional scaling and polishing under anesthesia can do that job. Untreated, dental disease can cause your pet’s teeth to come loose and/or fractured, cause discomfort and can lead to many serious health conditions such as heart disease.

Pets are creatures of habit, so try to be consistent in the time and place you choose for your daily brushing ritual. Gently introduce brushing in a stepwise pattern. You should
start by gently handling your cat/dogs lips and muzzles daily – always reward with praise and treats. This may be started as puppies and kittens, but you may need to take a break during the time they are loosing their baby teeth. In the next step you can introduce a flavoured water (tuna for cats and chicken for dogs) or a flavoured pet approved toothpaste. This flavouring can then be used to introduce on a soft bristled brush on the outer surface of the teeth. Brush at a 45-degree angle. Focus on the outer surface to start and gradually try to work on all the tooth surfaces. Toothpastes that contain baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and human paste should be avoided. Brushing just four or more times a week is beneficial!

Home care products include oral gels, rinses and chews. These products are designed to reduce plaque, but are less effective than actual brushing. Some products, such as the CET line, are enzyme based and combine with saliva to be antibacterial. HeathyMouth is a VOHC approved water additive that is designed for daily use. These are just a few of the available options.

Dental chew toys are another home dental care option and come in a wide variety of shapes, textures and sizes. Choosing the right dental chew toy can be challenging, so remember; products such as antlers, natural bones, and hard pressed nylon/rawhides are shown to cause dental fractures. That favourite tennis ball is also damaging to your pets’ teeth — the nylon fuzz is very abrasive and will wear down teeth. Your feline friends will benefit from dental chew toys as well- a great example is feline CETchews which come in a variety of flavors!

The VOHC also recognizes several dental diets. These diets have a larger kibble size which allow your pet’s tooth to insert deeply into the kibble creating a gentle abrasion on the tooth. These diets are shown to be effective when they comprise 50% or more of your pets daily caloric needs. VOHC approved diets include Hills TD®, Royal Canin Dental Formula®, and Purina Veterinary Diets DH®.

Please give us a call for a dental assessment by one of our well trained technicians- they always love to see you and your pets!

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