Your Pet’s Oral Hygiene
September 06, 2018 by Pradeepa Rao
What is the first thing we humans do when we get up in the morning? We practise good oral hygiene via brushing, gargling, flossing etc. If we are so particular about the way our teeth look and feel and how our breath smells, as caring pet parents, we should worry about the dental hygiene of our pets as well. The team at Furry Tales is a mix of canine and feline pet parents, and we would like to share the learnings from our experiences with regards to the subject at hand.
1. Every pet’s personality is different and hence, the way to handle them also varies. Plan in advance to work with your pet, to create a routine, preferably from the time they are young. Make them feel comfortable and pet them, starting with the face, then the chin and whiskers, proceed to touch their gums and teeth in the end. Do not force anything on them. Oral touch has to be nice, slow and a welcoming thing for them. A calm and steady routine, exercised for a course of 2-3 weeks will help them to start trusting you thus helping us to conduct proper oral exams and eventually even be able to brush their teeth. A lot of people go right to the toothbrush, freaking out the pet. Remember, slow and steady is the mantra.
2. Don’t charge in there and try to saw down the enemies with that toothbrush or cleaning kit. If the pet fights, back off and try again another day. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
3. Try and get a visual. Not all of us are veterinarians, but a few seconds of looking can show us any broken tooth and building up of plaque and tartar that is there. Lift the gum, peek and know where your pet stands in the oral health division. Once your pet lets you examine them without any fuss, give them a reward to create positive reinforcement for their good behaviour. By doing so, it will help strengthen your ability to complete their oral health routine more smoothly in the future.
4. Once you are aware of the issue with your pet’s dental hygiene decide on visiting a veterinarian if the issue seems to be serious or even if you aren’t sure what the evidence suggests.
There are a lot of products in the market nowadays, dedicated to maintain oral hygiene for your pets, starting at home for e.g. Chew sticks, rope toys, plaque and tartar cleansing liquids and toothpastes. You can do your research and take your pick from the available lot, depending on what your pet prefers. You might need to experiment with a few of them before you’re able to find the right flavour, which will also be something that can make this a comfortable routine for your pet. Not every pet is the same, hence one’s choice of tool/flavour may differ from the other. By doing this, we are not trying to avoid the annual vet visit in any way, instead we are looking for ways to work on the overall health of our pets, on a daily basis.