February is Pet Dental Month
In February we're celebrating Pet Dental Month! At Casillas Veterinary Hospital we always emphasize preventative care for our patients, and part of that care is bringing your dog or cat into our office for a dental checkup on a regular basis. Our vet team wants you to know that poor dental hygiene can lead to serious illness in pets, so keeping their teeth and gums healthy is key to a happy life.
East Los Angeles Vet Explains Dental Care
Like their human owners, dogs and cats have teeth that develop plaque over time. This plaque can build up, becoming tartar, a hard yellowish substance that stains the teeth. This tartar can cause infections and tooth decay, which are painful, and the infections can spread throughout the body, endangering the general health of the animal. Good dental hygiene, beginning with regular tooth brushing, is the way to prevent this from happening.
If you've never tried to brush your pet's teeth, our team will be happy to walk you through it. It takes patience as you and your pet get used to the process, but most animals learn to sit quietly while their teeth are being cleaned. We'll check your progress at your pet's annual wellness exam, and do a professional cleaning then if needed.
Tips for Pet Dental Care
Having a plan and using patience is the key to getting your dog or cat used to having its teeth brushed on a regular basis. Begin by letting your pet get used to the brush itself. Start the process during a quiet time when your pet is well rested and relaxed. Don't expect perfection the first time you try to brush your pet's teeth. It's a process that can take many sessions before you're both comfortable with it.
Never use human toothpaste while brushing your pet's teeth. Pet toothpaste is meant to be swallowed, while dogs and cats can get sick from swallowing human toothpaste.
Some pets, particularly cats, have a very hard time adjusting to having a toothbrush in their mouth. If your pet objects strongly, start with a softer object such as a cloth or a bristled finger cot made for cleaning pet teeth. This will allow your pet to get used to you putting objects in its mouth and on its teeth. Once that process is a learned behavior, move on to using the brush for a minute or two each day.
While brushing your pet's teeth every day is ideal, aim for a more realistic once or twice a week to keep your pet healthy.
If you've got any questions about pet dental care, call our office at (323) 215-1810. We serve patients in East Los Angeles, Montebello, Lynwood and the surrounding areas.