After realizing the importance of your pet’s oral health during Pet Dental Health Month, your pet may have recently received a professional periodontal therapy (a “dental”) by your veterinarian. With their new “smile”, you have noticed an increased energy from your pet. But your pet’s “minty fresh breath” is what you have been especially enjoying. Are you aware that there are various tools and products available to keep it that way for a longer time? That’s the topic we’ll be discussing today.

You may have noticed that there is an astronomical amount of options available for home dental care for your dog and cat. Some of which are more effective than others. I’ve classified them into four categories below, going from most to least effective:

Toothbrushing: This is by far the best method for slowing the progression of dental disease. This is the only method that can remove plaque and tartar causing bacteria from ALL teeth. Please visit us on Facebook to watch CPH technician Daria demonstrate toothbrushing here. Just remember to start slow since this is new for your pet and you. The tools needed for brushing your pet’s teeth at home are:

  • Pet specific flavored toothpaste. This will act as a treat during the process (just don’t get it mixed up with yours. Unless a chicken flavored paste sounds appealing to you).
  • Any kind of soft bristled brush will work. Smaller ones are better for small dogs and cats. The rotary type are also great options.
  • A minute of your time, every day.
If you start slow, most every pet will be happy to have their teeth brushed. Most will actually want “seconds”.

Foods: There are various specific foods that help slow dental disease. They come in two categories. The first being a ‘scrubbing-type’ diet. These foods are designed to scrub away plaque and tartar from the chewing teeth – like an edible toothbrush. The foods in this category are Hills T/D and Science Diet Oral Care. The second category of dental diets use a specific coating to decrease tartar formation. Examples of these diets include: Royal Canin Dental and ProPlan DH diets. All of the dental diets are formulated and best when used for your pet’s regular daily meals.

Chew Products: Products in this category can mechanically remove plaque and tartar from the chewing surfaces. Some products include additional ingredients that can help “disinfect” the mouth too. Since these products are not given as frequently as feeding, they tend to be a little less effective than the dental diets. There are numerous products in this category – some being more effective than others. Some examples include: OraVet, and Enzyme Rawhide chews, both available at CPH.

Rinses, Gels, Water Additives: The products in this category use various ingredients to help prevent plaque or tartar accumulation. These are more of an oral “disinfectant” and are placed lower on the effectiveness list due to their lack of mechanical removal of plaque and tartar. However, these products can be of great value in the periodontal disease battle, especially to help decrease “doggy/kitty breath”. Your veterinarian can recommend a specific product in this line that is best suited for your pet’s needs.

Even with regular home care, our pet’s will still need regular professional cleanings. By adding one or more of the above home care products, you’ll not only be helping your pet stay as healthy as possible, you’ll also be able to enjoy your pet’s new smile (and breath!) for much longer.