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!

Is Your Pet Due for Dental Care?

Believe it or not, proper dental care is just as important for our pets as it is for us!

Just as it’s important to brush your teeth to prevent dental decay and infection in your mouth, it’s also important to do the same for your furry friend. But, unfortunately, your pet can’t exactly tell you when they have a toothache. If your pet is in need of dental care, it’s important not to put it off, but how will you know? There are many tell-tale signs that pet owners should be aware of and watch out for, including:

Sign #1. Your pet has bad breath.

When the only tools you have to groom yourself are your own paws and your tongue, your breath probably won’t smell minty fresh. That being said, it’s not normal for your pet’s breath to be overly stinky. In fact, bad breath is often the first and most common sign of periodontal disease (gum disease) in pets. If you’re unsure of whether your pet’s breath is natural or the result of a dental problem, consult with your veterinarian! Left untreated, periodontal disease is only going to get worse, so it’s in neither your best interest nor your pet’s to take a chance.

Sign #2. Your pet’s teeth are stained.

You brush your teeth every night to get rid of a build-up on your teeth, called plaque. If plaque isn’t removed by brushing or flossing, it will start to harden and form tartar, which gets attached to the teeth, usually, right below the gumline. The same thing happens in our pets, and if you’re not diligent about brushing their teeth or giving them plenty of stuff to chew on, that tartar can lead to yellow or brown stains forming on their teeth. Unfortunately, this staining often goes hand in hand with bacterial infections, but your veterinarian can typically remove it through dental cleanings.

Sign #3. Your pet’s gums are swollen or bleeding.

Have you noticed that your pet leaves behind a little bit of blood when they chew on toys or bones? Or, do your pet’s gums look red or inflamed? These kinds of gum problems are often a sign that your dog has a bacterial infection in their gums, and they can cause your pet to experience significant discomfort. Luckily, though, the pain can be treated or reversed with dental care.

Sign #4. Your pet has difficulties eating.

Has your usually ravenous pet suddenly stopped caring about eating during mealtimes? Any changes in your pet’s behavior are important to watch out for, but changes in eating patterns are particularly concerning, especially in terms of their dental health. Besides not eating, a couple of other changes in their eating patterns you should be aware of include chewing on one particular side of their mouth or eating slower or more carefully than usual. Eating difficulties like these could be a sign that your pet has inflammation or even an infection, which was likely caused by periodontal disease. If you notice any changes in your pet’s eating patterns, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Sign #5. Your pet has been pawing at their gums or drooling excessively.

If your pet has a tooth abscess, it can cause a significant amount of pain. Although your pet can’t come right out and tell you they’re in pain, excessive drooling or a frequent pawing of the mouth are often indicators of oral pain. Abscesses are quite common, and they can be caused by periodontal disease or trauma to the tooth from fighting or chewing a bone or a toy that is too hard. As we mentioned, tooth abscesses are incredibly painful for your pet, and if you suspect that your pet has one, take them to your veterinarian as soon as you can.

Sign #6. Your pet has broken or loose teeth.

If your pet’s teeth are broken or feel loose, it’s a sign that their oral health problems have escalated. If bacteria is left to run rampant in your pet’s mouth, it will start to eat away at the bindings that hold their teeth into place, which can cause the teeth to become loose. Additionally, a tooth that has been broken due to some kind of trauma is highly prone to becoming infected due to the access the break gives bacteria to the tooth’s root. And, bacterial infections aren’t confined to the mouth; they can spread throughout the rest of your pet’s body, leading to more health problems for your pet.

Sign #7. Your pet has tumors or growths on their gums.

Pets, like people, can develop mouth cancer. If you’ve noticed that your pet has growths of tumors on their gums, don’t wait to get them checked out by your veterinarian. The tumors may be benign or malignant, but you won’t know until they get tested by a professional. If mouth cancer is present, the treatment might involve removing some of your pet’s teeth, as well as part of their jawbone. These growths can only be spotted if you are familiar with your pet’s mouth, which is just another reason to make it a point to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis.

A little bit of dental care at home goes a long way.

While pets are just as prone to dental problems as people, the good news is that dental problems in pets are also just as preventative as they are in people. Caring for your pet’s teeth properly at home should be a priority, not only so that you can keep their teeth clean and prevent dental problems, but also so that you can catch dental problems when they’re early and still easy to treat.

Find the pet dental care your pet needs in Carroll Gardens with The Vet Set.

At The Vet Set, we’re proud to say that our new animal hospital is equipped with everything we need to provide next-level care for your pet, including pet dental care. If you think your pet is in need of dental care, please contact us to schedule your appointment today!

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