896 W. Laketon Ave Muskegon Mi, 49441 (231) 759-7387
BB's Nine Lives List
BB came to live with us in January 2011. She is one of our resident mascots and greeters. Check back frequently for her Nine Lives List. Each month she will be imparting her veterinary wisdom to help your pet live a longer, healthier life.
Steps To A Healthy Smile!
Do you want your pet to live longer? Do you know you can help increase their life by 10-20%? You can do this by making your pet's oral health a priority! Here are some easy, fun and rewarding steps to providing your dog and cat with a healthier smile.
1. Regular Exams - have your veterinarian exam your dog and cat every 6-12 months! Something as simple as bad breath can actually be the result of a serious oral issue. Problems such as tooth abscesses, oral tumors and periodontal disease can hide quite well. A thorough exam by your veterinarian will uncover these conditions. Detecting and treating disease early will benefit your pet and lengthen their life!
2. Dental Cleanings - your vet may recommend a dental cleaning for your pet. This step is necessary in repairing and removing disease that already exists. First the teeth will be charted and evaluated for any missing, loose or infected. The teeth will be scaled with an ultrasonic scaler, removing all tartar and plaque build-up, making the teeth as pearly white as possible. Any unhealthy teeth will be extracted and those remaining will be treated with fluoride to prevent future tartar build-up.
3. Brushing - brushing your pet's teeth is not as difficult a step as you may think. It usually just takes some getting used to by your dog or cat. It's always best to acclimate your pet to a toothbrush and paste when they are young. Whether you have a younger or older pet making the task fun is key. Make sure to use a tooth paste specifically formulated for pets. Human products can be irritating to their kidneys.
4. Chews and Toys - a fun step in good oral care is giving Fido or Fluffy a yummy edible chew or dental toy to entertain them while cleaning their teeth at the same time. Chewing helps scrape plaque off, helping to prevent it forming into tartar.
5. Diets and Treats - what you feed your pet is an important step in the health of their mouth. Hard, crunchy kibble is ideal if your pet chews and doesn't just swallow their meal. The chewing action helps prevent the tartar from accumulating. Give less soft, moist snacks and stick to the larger biscuit treats when possible.
6. Prescription Diets and Treats - this step will be recommended by your veterinarian depending upon the stage of your pet's dental disease. Prescription treats, water additives, supplements and diets will attack the bacteria on a daily basis with a stronger affect than the over the counter products can.
7. Lift The Lip - a step that can be done on a regular basis to visualize your pet's tartar and plaque build-up, is to lift up your pet's lip and look at his or her gums and teeth. The best time to begin this is soon after their dental cleaning so you can easily assess the difference from the freshly cleaned teeth. Teeth will begin to look yellow or brownish if tartar is accumulating. Gums often look bright red and swollen when gingivitis and/or periodontal disease is present. Schedule an appointment with your vet if the condition looks severe or continues to worsen.
8. The Sniff Test - this step is for the brave of heart. "Dog breath" is a sign of infection or overgrowth of bacteria in your pet's mouth. So stop and smell your dog and cat's breath every so often. If you are even slightly knocked over an appointment to your vet should be scheduled!
9. Consistency - this final step sums up the whole of oral health care, be consistent. Consistency and diligence in caring for your pet's mouth will provide many years of happiness for them and you. Dental disease is a painful and uncomfortable condition for dogs and cats. Prevention is key! Please consult your vet for the best steps to take for your pet's specific needs and current dental condition. Your time and effort will be more than worth it!
It is never too late to take care of your pet's mouth! Good health care will allow you to spend many quality years with your loved one. This February schedule an oral exam. We can help you give your pet a healthier smile and a healthier life!