February is…

…Freezing cold in Saskatchewan,  seriously… freezing cold.

February is also National Pet Dental Month.  The month is dedicated to helping pet owners learn about the importance of dental care and ways to do that.  We have done a couple previous posts on various aspects of dental health and care.  This post is about how to choose the right tools to care for your pet’s teeth.  We have also included our own video on how to get your pet comfortable with having their teeth brushed, to further aid you.

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There are many items on the market that claim to improve your pet’s dental health – with one simple application.  The unfortunate part of these items is that many are about masking the problem that causes bad breath and dental decay (see our previous post on The Importance of Dental Care) .  The best option is always a preventative one; however if your pet’s teeth are already in a poor state, it is wise to contact your veterinarian to inquire about a dental treatment to get your pet’s teeth in the best possible condition, then do home care to maintain their oral health.

When it comes to choosing the tools you need for home dental care there are a few options in brush styles, toothpaste flavours and oral rinses:

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

(information provided by MyPetED.com via Idexx)

There are many variations of toothbrushes available, with the most popular being small brushes that fit comfortably in your hand, and finger toothbrushes designed to fit over the tip of your finger.  The type of toothbrush you choose depends on the size of your pet and your own dexterity.  Many pet owners find it easier to use a finger toothbrush, especially when first beginning to brush their pet’s teeth.

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Choosing Toothpaste

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 It is important that you use a toothpaste that is specifically formulated for your pet, available at your veterinary clinic.   Human toothpastes can cause

stomach upset, so avoid using your own toothpaste.  If you are out of pet toothpaste, you are better off to brush with nothing.  Pet toothpaste comes in several “flavours” – vanilla mint, poultry, malt, and seafood – although many pets like the poultry and many owners like the vanilla mint, ultimately it does not matter which “flavour” you choose.

Using an Oral Rinse

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There are a couple types of oral rinses available at your veterinary clinic.  Oral rinses are a great addition to brushing and can be done once daily.  Oral rinses help to eliminate the bacteria in your pet’s mouth which also aids in fresh breath.  For some pets who really dislike having their teeth brushed you can consider using an oral rinse instead.  We strongly recommend the Maxi/Guard Oral Cleansing Gel.  It is just applied to the outside of the upper molars and then a quick cleansing action across the rest of the teeth will distribute the gel to the rest of the mouth.  You can use a toothbrush, swab or your finger to apply it.

Since it is so freezing cold out and no one wants to go out in this weather, this is a great time to teach your pet to accept getting his or her teeth brushed.  Happy Brushing!

Here is our video showing you 4 easy steps to brushing your pet’s teeth:

Thank you to Hill’s for the “Brushing in 4 easy steps” guide.