The Benefits of Animal Dentistry for Your Pet Part 2

If you’re like most pet parents, you probably don’t give much thought to your pet’s teeth.

Most people who have adopted a furry friend into their family do a great job of taking care of them. They feed them the right foods, make sure they have plenty of exercise and do their best to always keep them safe, but there’s one big area of care pet owners often overlook — dental care. Believe it or not, animal dentistry is beneficial to your pet in many different ways, and in our Part 1 of this series, we touched on just a few of those ways. Keep reading to learn about more of the benefits of animal dentistry for your pet:

#4. It allows you to keep tabs on your pet’s health.

One of the challenges of raising a cat or a dog is that, unlike human kids, they can’t come out and tell you when something is wrong. With most injuries and illnesses, the earlier you can catch the problem, the easier it will be to get it treated, but of course, catching a dental problem in your pet can be tricky when they can’t tell you they are in pain. Without regular dental care from your veterinarian, you might never know that your pet has dental disease until it turns into a serious problem.

#5. It increases the likelihood that your pet will be able to keep their teeth.

Just as people can lose their teeth due to injury or illness, pets can too. And, pets who don’t get dental care on a regular basis have a much higher likelihood of losing their teeth painfully than pets who do get dental care. While humans who lose their teeth always have the option to get dentures or dental implants, those options aren’t available to pets. This makes losing teeth all the more challenging for pets.

#6. Proactive dental care can help you save money.

When people think of animal dentistry, they often see dollar signs flashing before their eyes. But, you should know that pet dental care doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, if you take a proactive approach to your pet’s dental health, you’ll more than likely save money. Treating a severe, existing dental problem can get pricey. Part of the reason for this is because deep cleanings, surgical tooth extractions and other more involved dental procedures often require anesthesia. You can save your pet a lot of pain, as well as a lot of money, by keeping up on your pet’s preventative dental care, because it helps you avoid the need for the more expensive treatments. Taking care of your pet’s dental health is an important step in taking care of their overall health. We hope that this blog series has shed some light on why animal dentistry is so important and beneficial to pets, but if you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Is your pet due for dental care? If so, schedule your appointment at The Vet Set. We’re proud to say that our new animal hospital in Carroll Gardens is equipped with everything we need to provide your pet with the quality dental care they deserve!

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.

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