The Benefits of Animal Dentistry for Your Pet

Most pet parents don’t give much thought to their pet’s teeth.

Whether you’re a pet parent to a dog or a cat, caring for their teeth probably isn’t the first thing on your mind, but it is something you should make a priority. Throughout this month, all of our blogs have been focused on animal dentistry. First, we went over how to spot the signs that your pet needs professional dental care, and then we went over tips for how to keep your dog’s teeth clean and how to keep your cat’s teeth clean. Today, we’re continuing on this theme by going over a few of the many benefits of animal dentistry for your pet.

#1. It will help to keep your pet’s teeth healthy.

The first and most obvious reason to stay on top of your pet’s dental care needs is that it helps to keep their teeth healthy. The majority of pets in the United States — 85 percent in fact — have some form of periodontal disease by the time they reach the age of three. Although periodontal disease (which is a fancy way of saying gum disease) is incredibly common in pets, it’s also very preventable. At-home dental care, combined with regular examinations and cleanings from your veterinarian, will help to prevent your pet from developing periodontal disease, as well as many other dental problems.

#2. It will help to keep your pet healthier as a whole.

Many people are under the misconception that periodontal only affects the mouth, but in reality, if it’s left untreated, it can lead a host of other concerns affecting your pet’s health as a whole. How does periodontal disease lead to health problems? The same bacteria in the mouth that causes periodontal disease can get into your pet’s bloodstream, where it can travel throughout their body. If your pet’s immune system doesn’t kill the bacteria, it can get into their organs, even their heart. Periodontal disease can cause everything from kidney problems to heart disease, and the best way to prevent it is to keep your pet’s teeth healthy through proper oral care.

#3. It will help to keep your pet’s breath fresh.

Do you feel like you should be wearing a clothespin on your nose every time your pet opens their mouth? If so, there’s a chance your pet has periodontal disease. One of the first signs people commonly notice of periodontal disease in pets is bad breath. Keeping your pet’s teeth clean and healthy through regular dental care will help to prevent periodontal disease, and the smelly breath that comes with it. Whether you’re trying to keep your pet healthy or eliminate the need for expensive dental treatments for your pet down the road, regular, preventative dental care is the way to go. In our next blog, we’ll be going over a few more benefits that come with animal dentistry for your pet, so be sure to stay tuned to learn more. In the meantime, if your pet requires dental care, contact us! Our new animal hospital is located in Carroll Gardens, and we’re equipped to provide your pet with the dental care they need. Schedule your appointment today!

How to Keep Your Cat's Teeth Clean Part 2

Keeping your cat’s teeth clean and healthy is an essential part of their overall health.

Not many people realize that their cat’s teeth need regular attention and care. Part of this stems from the fact that cats are incredibly independent animals who are generally perfectly content to do the vast majority of their own grooming. Another common reason is that cats aren’t super tolerant of being groomed. However, cat dental care is crucial if you want your cat to live a long, healthy life, and the good news is that there are lots of things you can do at home to maintain good oral health in your cat. In our last blog, we went over a couple of tips to help you keep your cat’s teeth clean, including a step-by-step guide on how to brush your cat’s teeth. Keep reading to learn more helpful cat dental care tips:

#3. Exchange fattening, store-bought treats for fresh veggies.

Many of the cat treats that you find at the pet store are full of not-so-great ingredients for your cat’s teeth, or for their health as a whole for that matter. But, luckily, there are a number of fresh vegetables that you can treat your cat with instead that are chock-full of nutrients. Some of them, like celery and carrots, could even help to clean your cat’s teeth as they’re chomping on them. Please keep in mind that, before you decide to give your cat any people food, always check to make sure that it’s safe for cats to eat, and if you ever have questions or concerns about any foods, talk to your veterinarian before giving it to your cat.  

#4. Stimulate your cat’s gums.

If your cat will let you, massaging your cat’s gums on a regular basis is a great way to keep their teeth and mouth healthy. How? Because in the vast majority of cases, tooth decay stems from gums that are inflamed, irritated or infected, and when you massage your cat’s gums, it stimulates healing and builds strength in the gums. Plus, stimulating your cat’s gums regularly will help you to keep an eye on them. Your cat’s gums should look pink, but if they look red or irritated, it could be a sign of a problem, and the sooner you can catch the first sign of trouble, the more treatable the problem will be.

#5. Give your cat a bone to chew.

Most people know that dogs like to chew bones, but did you know that cats do, too? Because cats are predatory animals, in the wild, hard bones is a natural part of their diet. Chewing on bones will help to keep your cat’s teeth clean, and it’s part of the reason why wild cats can get by without having their teeth brushed. But, make sure you give your cat the right kind of bones. Avoid fish, chicken or pork bones, as they are prone to splintering. Additionally, raw bones are generally a better option for cats, as they aren’t as likely to splinter.

#6. Spoil your cat with dental treats.

There are many different kinds of cat treats specifically made to help maintain healthy teeth and gums. Some of these treats can even help to improve your cat’s breath. How do cat dental treats help to clean their teeth? Many of them are made with an enzymes that actually help to eat away at the plaque on your cat’s teeth. But, keep in mind that, with any treats, it’s important to read the ingredients and not to overdo it. The last thing that you want is to help your cat have healthy teeth, only to have to deal with obesity and the many other health concerns surrounding it. Did you know that >50% of all dental disease takes place underneath the gumline in cats? The only way to properly diagnose dental disease in cats is with both a full oral exam and dental radiographs taken under anesthesia. Dental lesions in cats can be the silent but painful lurkers in your cat’s mouth.

Turn to The Vet Set for professional pet dental care in Carroll Gardens!

Although there are lots of things you can do at home to keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy, regardless of what you’re doing at home, it’s important to have your veterinarian examine your pet’s teeth every time they stop in for their annual wellness visit. Additionally, if your cat won’t allow you to brush their teeth at home, it never hurts to have your cat’s teeth professionally cleaned. And, luckily, at our new veterinary clinic, we have everything we need to provide your cat with high-quality dental care. Schedule your appointment today!

How to Keep Your Cat's Teeth Clean

Believe it or not, dental care is incredibly important for your cat.

Cats are extremely independent animals, especially when compared to other pets. Not only are cats great at entertaining themselves, but they also know how to expertly groom themselves. But, while your cat may be able to keep most of their body reasonably hygenic on their own, their teeth are a whole other matter. Many cat parents don’t realize that it’s even necessary to take care of their cat’s teeth in the first place, which is probably why periodontal disease (a fancy way of saying gum disease) is the most common disease found in cats today. However, there are a number of things you can do to keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy, including:

#1. Brush your cat’s teeth.

The best thing you can do to keep your cat’s teeth clean is to make it a point to brush them on a regular basis. However, most cats aren’t huge fans of being poked and prodded, and if you’ve ever tried and failed to brush your cat’s teeth in the past, you’re not alone. Here’s a step-by-step guide to make brushing your cat’s teeth a little easier on both you and your cat.
  1. Get your cat used to the idea - Your cat isn’t likely going to be too thrilled about the idea of you unceremoniously sticking a toothbrush in their mouth. It’s best to let your cat ease into getting their teeth brushed. Dip your finger in wet cat food or tuna, then let them sniff and lick your finger. The dip your finger again, and rub it gently on your cat’s teeth and gums. After you’ve done this a few times, your cat will get more comfortable with the idea of getting their teeth brushed.
  2. Find the right toothbrush - There are many different toothbrush options available to you; you just have to find one that works well for you and your cat. One great option is to simply wrap gauze around your finger and gently rub your cat’s teeth with it. But, there are also sponges, finger toothbrushes and other pet toothbrushes made specifically for cats.
  3. Find the right toothpaste - It’s important to note that you should never use toothpaste designed for humans on your cat. Human toothpastes contain chemicals that are toxic to cats and dangerous when swallowed. Plus, cats actually tend to like the taste of toothpaste made specifically for them, because it’s typically flavored to taste like fish, chicken, bacon or something else they enjoy. No matter which toothpaste you choose, let your cat taste a small amount before you brush their teeth with it.
  4. Be gentle when brushing your cat’s teeth - You could easily irritate your cat’s gums if you brush too vigorously, so always make it a point to be gentle when brushing. Your cat is not going to allow you to brush the inward facing surfaces of their teeth, but brushing the surfaces that face the cheeks will make a huge difference. When brushing, pay special attention to the canines and upper molars, as plaque tends to build up quickly on these teeth.
  5. Reward your cat - Your cat’s first instinct is probably not to sit there and allow you to brush their teeth, so make sure you reward them with a kiss and plenty of love. And, rewarding your cat will hopefully make it easier to brush their teeth next time!

#2. Be choosy about what you feed your cat.

The kind and quality of the food you feed your cat can have a huge impact on their oral health. Cats who are fed mostly sticky, wet food will more than likely have more trouble with oral health problems than cats who eat a mix of wet and dry food, or just dry food. While there are many things you can do at home to keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy, sometimes, you need the help of a professional veterinary clinic on your side, and that’s where we come in. We’re The Vet Set, and we’re proud to provide you with the compassionate care your cat needs in Carroll Gardens. Contact us today to schedule your cat’s dental appointment! Want to learn more helpful tips for keeping your cat’s teeth clean and healthy? If so, stay tuned for our next blog.

How to Keep Your Dog's Teeth Clean Part 2

In order to keep your dog healthy, it’s important to keep their teeth healthy.

For many dog parents, remembering to take their dog on a walk, feed them high-quality food and give them any medications they’ve been prescribed is easy. What isn’t so easy to remember, though, is taking care of your dog’s dental health. Your dog’s oral health plays a huge role in their overall health, and luckily, there are lots of things dog moms and dads can do to keep their fur baby’s teeth clean and healthy, and in our last blog, we went over a couple of tips to help you do just that. Keep reading for more helpful, doggy dental care tips:

#3. Trade in processed store-bought treats for whole fruits and vegetables.

In the first part of this series, we talked about how feeding your dog the right kind of food is important for their oral health. However, you shouldn’t stop with their food; it’s also important to look at the quality of treats you’re giving your dog. Many of the processed dog treats you find at pet stores contain cereal grains, sugar and fats, which are not exactly healthy ingredients for your dog, and they are prone to sticking to their teeth, causing plaque and eventually tartar. There are plenty of dog-friendly fruits and vegetables that make wonderful dog treat alternatives, like carrots, apples, pumpkins, bananas, blueberries and strawberries, just to name a few. These fresh, all-natural treats are packed with nutrients that are great for your dog, and some of them can even help to clean your dog’s teeth, like apples and carrots.

#4. Give your dog a prescription dental dog food.

The food you feed your dogs can play a big role in their dental health. One great option for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and their tummy happy is prescription food designed with a brushing mechanism that helps to clean the teeth, like options by Hill’s and Royal Canin. If you’re interested in giving your prescription food designed to keep their teeth clean, talk to your veterinarian!

#5. Give your dog plenty of things to chew on.

In nature, no one is there to brush a wolf’s teeth, so they have to keep their teeth clean on their own. There are a number of reasons as to why wolves can keep their teeth clean in the wild but dogs require teeth brushing. As we’ve talked about in both this blog and Part 1 of this series, diet plays a huge role. But, another thing wolves do that dogs typically don’t do is chew on the bones of their prey. This helps to naturally break up plaque. You don’t want your dog taking down a buffalo in your backyard, but making sure your dog has plenty of things to chew on will accomplish similar results. Bully sticks and chew toys are all great options, just make sure that you supervise your dog while they chew, especially if they’re an enthusiastic chewer. To prevent your dog from breaking his teeth ensure the chew isn’t too hard. If you can’t make an indentation with your fingernail, or if you hit it on your knee and it hurts, you run the chance of it breaking your dog’s teeth. Femur bones, antlers, and sterile bones will fracture your dog’s teeth. Ask your veterinarian about prescription dental chews, which help remove plaque when the dog chews.

#6. Trade in your dog’s treats for dental treats.

We’ve already talked about all of the nasty sugar, fat and cereal grains found in your typical dog treats, but fruits and vegetables aren’t the only great treat option when you’re looking to improve your dog’s oral health. Dental treats are designed to help keep your dog’s teeth clean, and some of them can even help to combat bad breath. But, keep in mind that not all doggy dental treats are made equal. It’s always a good idea to read the ingredients on any food product you plan to give your dog.

#7. Take your dog to the vet to get their teeth cleaned.

There are lots of things you can do at home to keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy, but brushing your dog’s teeth is probably the most important. However, if every time you attempt to get near them with a toothbrush, your dog has a meltdown, you probably won’t be able to effectively brush their teeth on your own. In these cases, getting your dog’s professionally cleaned is a great option. Small breed dogs typically need their teeth cleaned on an annual basis, and larger dogs need their teeth professionally cleaned every other year. Every dog is different and our veterinarians will guide you through their medical requirements. Regardless of how you choose to take care of your dog’s teeth at home, it’s important to make sure that your veterinarian examines your dog’s teeth at their regular checkups. This will help to ensure that, even if your dog does start to develop periodontal disease or another oral health problems, it will be caught and treated right away. Is your dog due for a dental checkup? Schedule your appointment with our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens today! When you rely on The Vet Set for your dog’s care, you can rest assured that your fur baby is in the very best hands.

How to Keep Your Dog's Teeth Clean

A big part of keeping your dog healthy overall includes keeping your dog’s teeth healthy.

As dog moms and dads, we all want our dogs to be as healthy and as happy as possible. But, unfortunately, many of the best dog parents overlook or forget about their dog’s oral health, and that can be problematic for many reasons. Not only can oral health problems lead to infections inside the mouth, but the infections can spread throughout your dog’s body, leading to a whole host of other health problems. But, for some pet owners, providing their pet with the dental care they need can be easier said than done. That’s why our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens has come up with these tips for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and healthy:

#1. Brush your dog’s teeth!

One of the best things you can do to take care of your dog’s oral health is to brush their teeth. Typically, it’s not necessary to brush your dog’s teeth every day, but the more you do it, the better off they’ll be. At first, your dog may not like it, and it may not feel like the most natural thing in the world, but you and your dog will both get used to it over time. Here’s a little, step-by-step guide to make brushing your dog’s teeth just a bit easier.
  1. Pick the right toothbrush - There are many toothbrush options available, including those long, thin toothbrushes and toothbrushes that fit right over your finger. Finger brushes are preferred by many dog parents, because they are easier to control when you have to balance holding a toothbrush with keeping your dog’s mouth open.
  2. Pick the right toothpaste - Never use toothpaste designed for humans for your dog, as it contains harmful chemicals that can put your dog in danger if swallowed. Toothpastes designed specially for dogs are not only safe, but they are often flavored like salmon, bacon or other treats dogs love, which will make the experience a bit better for your pup. Be sure to let your dog taste a small amount of the toothpaste before putting it in their mouth.
  3. Let your dog get used to you taking care of their teeth - If you’ve never put your fingers in or around your dog’s mouth before, and one day, you suddenly shove a toothbrush in there, they probably won’t be too happy about it. Get your pet used to the idea that you’ll be brushing their teeth by rubbing their teeth with gauze or even just your finger at first. Once they get acclimated, then switch to a toothbrush.
  4. Be gentle when brushing - Don’t brush your dog’s teeth too vigorously. Instead, use gentle, circular motions to clean their teeth, paying special attention to the canines and upper molars, as these teeth tend to have more tartar buildup than other teeth. Your dog probably won’t let you clean the inside of their teeth, but cleaning the cheek-facing surfaces will go a long way.
  5. Reward your dog - One of the best things you can do to get your dog used to regular teeth brushings is to make it a point to reward them every time you brush their teeth. This way, your dog will associate getting their teeth brushed with getting a treat or another reward.

#2. Be mindful about the kind of food you give your dog.

Up until a few years ago, most people’s dogs lived off of kibble their owners bought at the grocery store, and not much thought was given into what kind of ingredients were going into dog food. But, dog owners today are much more conscious about what their dogs are eating. Not only is this important for your dog’s overall health, but believe it or not, the quality of food you’re giving your dog also has an impact on their oral health. Dog foods that contain cereal grains and by-products are more likely to stick to your dog’s teeth, causing plaque and eventually tartar to form. Ideally, your dog should be fed a diet that consists of a variety of whole, natural foods, but barring that, look for foods that don’t contain by-products or cereal grains to keep your dog’s teeth healthy.

When at-home dental care won’t cut it, turn to your neighborhood veterinarian at The Vet Set.

Dental care at home is essential for preventing oral health problems, including gum disease; however, if your dog has already developed a dental issue, at-home dental care won’t cut it anymore. In cases like these, your best bet is to talk to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. And, luckily, our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens provides professional dental care for pets! Schedule your appointment today! In our next blog, we’ll be going over a few more helpful tips for keeping your dog’s teeth clean at home, so be sure to stay tuned!

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