Aside from avoiding bad breath, for your cat or dog to live a full and happy life they need to have a comfortable mouth - which means healthy teeth and gums.
Dogs and Cats don't just use their teeth to eat, they are also essential tools for carrying, playing and tugging!
Keeping your pet's teeth and gums in good shape is pretty much the same as keeping your own teeth healthy - you start with a good diet, regular oral care and checks by the dentist or in this case the vet!
So here is our 10 Step Guide to help you keep that bad breath at bay!
1.Gums should be a healthy pink colour so any redness, swelling or bleeding should be checked by a vet.
2.Plaque needs to be cleaned away daily so it doesn't build up and form tartar - a yellowish brown material often seen where the gum meets the tooth.
3.Watch out for difficulty eating, excessive drooling and salivation, and pawing of the mouth, any of which could indicate something isn't right.
4.Avoid potential problems caused by plaque build up by regular daily brushing. This is important as, aside from damaging the supporting tooth structure which can lead to eventual tooth loss, the build up of bacteria can lead to complications in other parts of the body. Dental health is therefore very important for overall well being of your pet.
5. So how do you check the condition of your pet's mouth?
Firstly get into the habit of lifting their lip occasionally so they get used to being handled in this way, and you can spot when anything has changed.
For cats, turn them so they face away from you, as they will naturally start to back up when you examine them.
For dogs, choose a time and a place where your dog is at ease. Offer plenty of reassurance and a healthy treat afterwards!
6. Clean daily using a soft toothbrush and a pet formulated toothpaste that contains no fluoride or xylitol.If possible start when they are a kitten or puppy so they get used to it.
7. While some dogs can be trained to oblige, cats can be less tolerant, but it is possible with small steps and training with rewards.
Start by putting the cat toothpaste on your finger and offering it for your cat to lick.
Over time switch to a cat toothbrush and gently brush for a few seconds at a time.
8. If there are signs of redness and swelling and you are worried, ask your vet to check your pets teeth. They can clean their teeth to get things back in shape.
9.If your pet wont tolerate brushing ask your vet to advise on alternatives.
For example, scientifically proven chews designed to reduce plaque and tartar build up can be good for oral hygiene as pets like chewing them.
10.Now all that is left to do is cuddle up with your pet!