Pet Dental Home Care
What can you do?
It's vitally important to the overall health of pets (and humans) to have nice healthy teeth and gums.
So here are some "home remedies" to try and prevent buildup of plaque (remember..."plaque causes dental disease") and tartar.
There are a lot of different pet dental products on the market making all sorts of claims. To cut to the chase, the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has tested and approved a select number of products that have been shown to prevent both plaque and tartar.
Daily Teeth Brushing
If your own dentist had just cleaned your teeth and said "don't brush for 6 months", you would expect to be back for major teeth and gum issues in a very short time.
The same applies for pets. With a little patient training, you'll soon have your pet eager for its daily tooth brushing.
Tooth brushing is by far the best way to prevent dental disease
- Brush your pet's teeth daily with a soft child's toothbrush.
- Don't worry about the inside of the teeth as the tongue keeps this area clean - just brush the outside surfaces.
- Use a poultry or beef flavoured toothpaste (available at BHVG). The toothpaste does not actualy have any health benefit but makes the whole process enjoyable - a bit like getting a treat.
- Clean the teeth at the same time of the day and in the same room. Before long, your pet will be queing up for the daily clean and treat.
- If the tooth brushing proves a bit difficult at first, start with a thin rag wrapped around your finger and the toothpaste on top.
Hills T/D and Vet Essentials (VE) Dry Foods
These brands of Hills pet foods are the only pet food in the world to have had over 300 published tests proving their effectiveness in preventing both plaquae and tartar in pets. They are approved by the VOHC.
Hills Vet Essentials (VE) has T/D built into their makeup.
The secret lies in a protein "meshwork" inside each biscuit that prevents them crumbling when a tooth penetrates them. I have actually stabbed a biscuit with a screwdriver and it did not split. Once the tooth enters the biscuit and eventaully "exits", any plaque or taratr on the tooth is "dragged off".
Of course they are not indestructable, but they are made to just the right consistency so this action "self cleans" the teeth as the pet eats.
Chews and bones
Try to encourage daily chewing to keep the teeth clean if possible. Some good chewable things include:
- Raw bones- no hard "soup bones" as they can fracture teeth.
We prefer softer bones e.g. brisket bones, lamb necks, but even these can sometimes cause problems.
- Avoid raw chicken necks and wings due to problems with Salmonella and E. Coli and some dogs having to visit the specialist to remove a swallowed chicken neck from the chest (approx. $4,500 cost)
- Rawhide chews are excellent
- Pedigree Pal Dentastix (available in supermarkets) are great
AVOID INDIGESTABLE DENTAL CHEWS IN CASE THEY ARE SWALLOWED
e.g. nylon bones, rope and rubber toys
Aquadent has passed the Veterinary Oral Health Council's (VOHC) stringent testing as effective in preventing up to 50% of plaque and tartar buildup on pet's teeth. Just add Aquadent to your pet's drinking water
Greenies are activated by saliva to battle both plaque and tartar in pets.
They have also under gone extensive testing by the VOHC and proven to be effective.
Should your pet swallow a larger than normal piece, the Greenie will dissolve in the stomach and not cause a bowel blockage (unlike some other types of dental chews on the market e.g. nylon bones)