As a pet parent, you want nothing but the best for your furry companion. One of the best things you can do as a pet owner is to ensure the overall health of your pet through routine at-home dental care, exams, cleanings, and preventative treatments. By being vigilant about your pet’s oral health, you can strengthen their overall health and well-being, protecting them from diseases that pass from the mouth to the bloodstream and into their vital organs like the heart, lungs, and kidneys.

Handy Tips to Care for Your Pet’s Teeth At Home

One question we hear from pet parents quite frequently is, “How can I get plaque off my dog’s teeth at home?” While daily brushing is the simple answer, there are many ways you can optimize your pet’s oral health at home. Here are some handy hints to ensuring your pet’s dental health at home.

Brush Your Pet’s Teeth Daily

Brushing your pet’s teeth every day can reduce tartar and plaque buildup. While this may be a challenging undertaking for finicky dogs and cats, it can and should be done. Here’s what you will need:

  • A toothbrush designed for dogs or cats – Typically a double-sided toothbrush made for dogs and cats in various sizes, or a squishy rubber toothbrush that fits over your finger.
  • Pet-friendly toothpaste – Never use human toothpaste or baking soda. Rather, find a pet-friendly toothpaste made with ingredients that are specially formulated for pets, and come in yummy flavors pets love).

Once you have the right dental products, follow these steps:

  • Let your pet sample the toothpaste so they can get used to the flavor. 
  • Then, add some to the toothbrush, lift their lip to expose your pet’s teeth and gums, and begin brushing their teeth using gentle motions similarly to how you would brush your own teeth.
  • Be sure to get the molars and canines toward the back of their mouth, as these are problem areas for tartar buildup.
  • Once you are finished, reward your pet with a loving pat, hug, or some other gesture to make the experience a positive one.
  • Repeat the brushing exercise once daily, if possible. 

Feed Them Pet-Friendly Fruits & Veggies

There are many pet-friendly fruits and veggies that support optimal dental health. Give them these tasty treats as rewards and snacks to promote their oral health. 

*These foods may not be healthy for dogs with certain food allergies, sensitivities, or who are on strict diets. Consult with your veterinarian to learn more.

  • Carrots and Celery – These veggies are low-cal and provide many nutrients that are essential to your dog’s health and wellness, and the crunchy texture can naturally clean debris from your dog’s teeth. Plus, celery can even freshen your pet’s breath!
  • Apple Slices – The fibrous texture of apples can help reduce tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth. Feed them a couple of slices after a meal to freshen their breath — just make sure there’s no seeds in the slices!  

Give Them Healthy Chews

Dental chews are a great way to manage your pet’s oral health while giving them a tasty reward they’ll love. Look for vet-approved dental chews that are easy to digest, and be sure to supervise your pet while they’re chewing to prevent choking. 

Know the Signs of Dental Disease

As a pet parent, knowing the signs and symptoms of dental disease can help you determine when it may time to visit your veterinarian for a dental exam. Some of the most common signs of dental disease may include:

  • Red or inflamed gums (gingivitis)
  • Bleeding gums
  • Noticeable discomfort when chewing
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Oral sensitivity
  • Yellow-brown tartar buildup
  • Bad breath 
  • Excessive drooling (especially with blood)
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Rubbing the face against the floor or furniture
  • Visible bone loss
  • Irritability
  • Depression or inactivity

If your pet is displaying any of these signs, or you are concerned about their dental health, we recommend connecting with your Kansas City vet immediately to schedule a dental exam.

Connect with Your Caring Kansas City Veterinarians

If you would like to learn more about the dental services we provide for dogs and cats, please connect with our Client Care team to schedule your pet’s appointment. From free dental exams to more complex dental procedures, our experienced pet dentists are here to help your pet live a healthy, happy life. Contact your Kansas City veterinarian via the Telemedicine portal, give us a call at (816) 239-0786, or fill out the form below.