Most people would never consider going ten years or more before having a dental check-up. When it comes to your pets, that’s the equivalent of about 16 months if you consider that every human year is the rough equivalent to seven dog years. When it comes to how often your pet should get dental care, there are a few things to consider – age, diet, activity level, oral care, and more.
Most importantly, listen to the advice of your veterinarian. They are well trained and know a great deal about the best practices you can adopt to ensure a healthy pet for many years to come. That said, let’s have a look at a few key things when it comes to visiting the doggy (and kitty!) dentist.
For most dog and cat owners, the idea that you should take care of your pets oral health is pretty new – some even balking at the idea. However, if you consider that your cherished pet can suffer the same dental problems as you can, you may be more apt to consider adopting an oral health routine for them.
Four of five dogs (80%) over three years of age are suffering from some kind of gum disease (periodontal disease). This is a much higher statistic than it is for people and is cause for attention. Considering that oral health issues can shorten the lifespan and quality of life of your pet establishing a regular dental health program for them can greatly improve their experience.
Rule of Thumb: A Dental Exam Once Per Year
The general suggestion is that your pet should visit the dentist at least once per year for a full oral exam. This can vary depending on the conditions of your pet’s mouth. If you adopt a regular yearly schedule when your pet is as young as six months, you can lead the way for a long life of healthy teeth and gums.
Keep in mind that your pet will go under general anesthesia. Gum disease is not just on the surface. Many problems occur below the gum line, in the jaw bone, in the roots, and more. This requires your pet to be asleep to perform the checkup.
In addition to regular professional dental care for your pet, there are some things that you can do at home to maintain good oral health for the rest of the year. It really comes down to two primary responsibilities on your part: brushing, and quality food.
Establishing a daily brushing routine is the best way to ensure your pet has a good chance of a healthy mouth. With a special pet toothbrush and treat-flavored toothpaste, eight out of ten pets will let you brush – and even enjoy it.
Food quality also plays an important role. Just like in people, eating a whole food diet is the key to the overall good health of your pet, not just oral health. There are plenty of options to choose from in most pet stores. Opt for the foods that are made with real food ingredients with minimal if any fillers, binders, preservatives, flavoring, or coloring.
Establishing a pet dental care routine is the best thing you can do to ensure your pet has a healthy mouth for years to come. Speak to your veterinarian about establishing a dental routine and book in for your first appointment. Over time this will extend the overall quality of life for your pet – and give you peace of mind.