According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease by the age of two. Untreated dental disease can be a serious problem and can even spread to the heart, kidneys and other organs. Love your pets by keeping their smiles healthy with regular tooth brushing and vet check-ups.
How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth
When brushing your pet’s teeth, always use a toothpaste designed for pets as human toothpaste can be toxic to pets, especially those containing fluoride or xylitol. There are many different types of toothbrushes for pets designed to make the job easier but you can also use a piece of gauze wrapped around your fingers. Slowly introduce your pet to having their teeth brushed just a few at time and keep the experience positive so your pet doesn’t become overwhelmed.
If your pet won’t tolerate having their teeth brushed (and don’t force it if they won’t), check out the variety of brushless dental products on the market. These gels and sprays can be applied directly in the mouth, or added to your pet’s water, depending on the product.
Regular dental exams by your pet’s veterinarian are also important for detecting dental disease before it becomes serious and are just one more reason to take your pets to the vet for their annual physicals. After examining your pet’s mouth, your vet may recommend a professional dental cleaning. This procedure usually requires your pet to be put under general anesthesia, while your pet’s teeth are cleaned and polished and any problem teeth may be extracted.
Dental Care Pays Off
Any effort you can make toward keeping your pet’s teeth clean and healthy is well worth it for both your pet and your pocket book. In their 2013 analysis, VPI Pet Insurance found that average cost to treat dental disease in pets is $531.71 while the average cost to prevent it is only $171.82.