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Dental Care: Start now and SAVE money

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Dental Care

In dogs over 2-3 years old, dental problems from lack of proper care rank among the top reasons for veterinary visits... yet many of these expensive bills can be avoided with simple, preventive dental care performed regularly at home. Nylabone Dental Chews

Fortunately, keeping your pet's teeth and gums disease-free has gotten easier over the years with the introduction of veterinary dental solutions, cleansing pads, and brushes for home use.

Trouble begins when food particles and bacteria build up in the mouth, forming plaque and tartar, which left untreated, lead to painful tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums, and in severe cases, tooth loss and potentially dangerous infections.

With your attention to a good dental routine, your dog can enjoy healthy gums, fresh breath, and fewer visits to the doctor's office.

We recommend daily brushing, but here's the least you can do now to avoid costly veterinary bills in the future:

Daily: Control Plaque with Treats and Chew Toys. Keep bacteria from building up by giving your dog biscuits, rawhides, and other dental chews to gnaw on.

2-3 Times a Week: Wipe Teeth with a Plaque-Killing Solution. Help eliminate disease and odor-causing bacteria using concentrated dental solutions and pre-soaked dental pads. A veterinary-formulated chlorhexidine solution kills the bacteria that leads to plaque. Very effective, easy to use, and they're completely mess free.

Weekly: Brush Teeth to Dislodge Any Plaque Buildup. There are a variety of brushing solutions available, including disposable toothbrushes, dental sponges, and fingertip brushes. For toothpaste, we recommend a pet toothpaste in a flavor your pet loves most.

Routine Checkups: Dental Exam & Recommended Cleanings. On a regular basis, take your pet to a veterinarian for a thorough dental exam - at least once a year. Cats and small breed dogs will generally require more frequent professional cleanings than larger breeds.

Teaching your pet to accept a regular dental program early in life is by far the easiest way to keep plaque at bay. Here are some easy first steps toward a lifetime of good dental health, whether you're working with a pup or an older friend:

Week 1 First, your pet will need to become comfortable with you handling and examining her mouth.
  • Start by holding your pet's head steady with one hand.
  • Gently stroke the outside of the muzzle with your fingers, then lift her top lip to expose the teeth, touch her front teeth, side, molars, etc.
  • Always speak calmly during these "desensitizing" sessions, and keep them short - less than 30 seconds is fine.
  • Praise with a treat when finished, so your pet remembers the process as a positive experience.
Week 2 As your dog becomes more comfortable…
  • Start using one or two fingers to gently rub her teeth, helping her get used to the sensation of brushing and slightly longer sessions - about a minute.
  • We recommend dipping your fingers in some beef juice (or tuna for cats) to make the routine a rewarding experience for your pet.
  • Praise with a treat when finished, so your pet remembers the process as a positive experience.
Week 3 It's time to start cleaning teeth!
  • A natural transition between using your fingers and a toothbrush is to try a fingertip brush dipped in Dental Cleanser, or use a pre-soaked dental wipe.
  • Praise with a treat when finished, so your pet remembers the process as a positive experience.
  • Like any good routine, try to remain consistent with your habits.


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