While all pet owners should schedule regular dental checkups for their animals, individuals can adopt a number of habits at home to ensure good dental health. Pet stores sell toothpaste and toothbrushes especially designed for pets. Brushing a pet’s teeth regularly significantly reduces buildup of plaque and tartar. Owners should always introduce brushing slowly to allow a pet to gradually build up a tolerance to the motion and taste. Veterinarians can teach owners the best brushing techniques.
Pet owners may also want to consider food and treats designed for tooth health. Some foods have a specific size and matrix that gently scrubs the tooth as the pet chews. Many manufacturers also make treats designed to do the same. Giving these treats regularly encourages healthy teeth. Some sprays, rinses, and gels also exist on the market, but not all of them prove equally effective. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) rates these types of products according to their effectiveness. Individuals can access this information on the VOHC website.
A canine and feline oncology specialist, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince offers a range of veterinary services through the Elmhurst Animal Care Center.