February is Pet Dental Month! This doesn't excite most people, because the idea of brushing your dog or cat's teeth is one of the least appealing tasks that come with owning a pet. But did you know that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop peridontal disease by the age of 3? Yet only 15% of them get regular dental care from a vet... that means many of your pets, like mine, should be getting some kind of dental care at home to help prevent not only that bad breath, but also the tartar and plaque that lead to disease.
First of all... why bother? Dental disease can cause changes in your pet's body that may result in organ dysfunction and a shortened lifespan. I know you wanna keep your best friends around for as long as possible, so take this to heart: keep their teeth clean!
How can you tell they have dental issues? Lift up their lip and take a sniff. Stinky? Bad breath is a good early indicator of harmful bacteria buildup in your pet's mouth. Take a peek. If you see yellow or brown deposits on their teeth, especially near the gumline, or if their gums are bright red, these are bad signs of dental disease. Loss of teeth is probably soon to come. Along with huge dental bills, yuck!
Ok, so... what can you do to help? First, I'll always recommend yearly well-pet visits to your vet, and occasional vet cleanings. Daily toothbrushing would be great! We have a variety of pet toothbrushes and finger brushes (way easier, you just slip it onto your finger and rub against the teeth), along with pet toothpaste here at the store to help you with that chore. We also have disposable dental wipes that some people find easier than brushes. But again, most people don't consider brushing their pet's teeth a great way to spend a Saturday. If you're one of those people, don't worry! There are a ton of new products out there to help!
Tropiclean Fresh Breath line - Fresh Breath Treats, Clean Teeth Gel, Fresh Mint Foam, and Oral Care Water Additive
Made with dill, parsley, and mint to freshen breath, the treats have a consistency that helps remove tartar and plaque. The gel, a blend of natural ingredients, kills the germs that can case bad breath, plaque and gingivitis, and helps reduce accumulation of plaque and tartar. The pump dispensed foam freshens breath instantly and keeps gums and teeth clean. The water additive promotes healthy gums and eliminates bad breath with daily use.
Any rope toy or "nubby" toy will help clean your pet's teeth as they chew. We also carry the Busy Buddy Bristle Bone that has nubs and toothbrush-like bristles that really clean dog's teeth as they chew it. It has rawhide rings that you screw onto it to keep 'em interested, and you can even squeeze some doggie toothpaste onto it to get those chompers extra clean!
Anything a dog chews will help clean it's teeth. Here are some chews that do double duty.
Zuke's new Z-Ridge bones are awesome chews. They're made with real cranberries, a great source of natural antioxidants. They're also packed with alfalfa concentrate, clove, nutmeg, parsley and fennel to naturally freshen breath. They don't have any wheat, corn, or artificial fresheners.
Ark Naturals Breath-less Brushless Toothpaste is a rice-based bone filed with pet toothpaste. The outer layer contains chlorophyll, cinnamon, vanilla, and clove to freshen breath, while the inner core contains ingredients such as L-ascorbyl 2 polyphosphate. What, you don't know what L-ascorby..blahblah whatever is? Me neither, so I looked it up. Apparently it's a more stable form of vitamin C trademarked as Stay-C, which is a breakthrough nutrient that helps to promote long-term good dental health.
Twistix Dental Chews' triple-action breath-sweetening ingredients include peppermint, parsley, and chlorophyll. These chews come in Small and Large and are wheat-free as well.
Feline or canine Greenies are great chews with a unique tooth-cleaning shape that helps reduce plaque and tartar.
For kitties, Petrodex also makes a great dental treat. It's an enzymatic treat, which means in a nutshell that it changes the chemical makeup of your cat's mouth to prevent the bad bacteria from taking over!
So as you can see, even if your dog or cat REFUSES to let you brush their teeth, you can still be a responsible pet owner (and avoid those EXPENSIVE dental bills!) with these new pet dental care products. Come by and ask us for help choosing the best products for your pet and your lifestyle!