Dental care is a standard part of our routine – and it’s important to remember that it should be a part of your pet’s daily life too. As with our own teeth, our pets’ teeth acquire a build-up of plaque which needs to be brushed away. An effective way to do this is with natural dental chews and dental toys, made specifically with your pet’s well-being in mind. Whilst this is a great start on the road to pristine dental hygiene, daily brushing can be the most effective way to combat the plaque.

Here are our top 10 tips for keeping your pet’s gnashers in top condition – and that doggy breath at bay!

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 14.11.21

1. Sniff that breath!
Now, don’t be too judgemental; a natural kitty or doggy-esque scent is to be expected, but if their breath is truly outrageous then we’d recommend taking your pet to the vet as they could be suffering from an oral disease.

2. Inspect those gums
Face your pet and lift their lips to inspect their gums. This can be especially tricky with cats and you may need someone to help you hold them – but be careful not to continue if they become distressed, but rather ease them into this process. The gums should be pink in colour, but if they are at all swollen, red, white – or the teeth themselves show visible tartar, this is an indication that your pet would benefit from improved dental hygiene. If the symptoms are particularly severe, take your pet to a vet.

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 14.13.49

3. Spot the signs of oral disease as soon as possible
Here’s what to look out for when it comes to dental issues, or problems with the gastrointestinal system:

Bad breath
Extreme drooling
Swollen gums
Lumps or tumors in the gums
Cysts under the tongue
Loose teeth
Red gums
Yellowish-brown tartar on the teeth
Your pet may even drop food from their mouths
They might only chew only on one side due to pain
Weight loss

However! It is important to note that sometimes there may be no symptoms whatsoever – but pain could still be present. That’s why it’s so essential to practise good oral hygiene with your pet and regular visits to the vet are of utmost importance.

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 14.16.29

4. Understand tooth decay
Tooth decay is when bacteria and plaque-forming foods build-up on your pet’s gnashers. When this sticky brown dew hardens to become tarter, it can lead to gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss. But fear not! Gentle daily teeth-brushing can prevent things from ever getting that far.

5. Get your hands (and paws) on a dental kit
Some pets will jump at the chance for some added TLC and extra pampering time (especially if you choose a great-tasting toothpaste!), whereas others, especially cats, will need time to adjust to this new routine. Despite common misconceptions, it is possible to train your cat to accept teeth-cleaning.

Our top tip to all you new pet-parents out there would be to introduce your pets to teeth-cleaning whilst they are still puppies and kittens. We have some really great toothbrushes and toothpaste available to make brushing your pet’s teeth a much easier experience for you and extra-enjoyable for your pet. Don’t ever be tempted to use human toothpaste – it can have nasty effects on your pet’s tummy.

6. Make the process stress free!
Choose a regular time in the day and stick to it, this will lessen any distress if your pet learns to expect teeth-brushing time. As a way to relax your pet into things – first put some of their toothpaste onto your finger and allow them to lick it off. Have your pet’s back to you initially, as this is a less aggressive approach and won’t make them feel trapped.

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 14.17.41

7. Master the teeth-cleaning technique
Now, whilst it isn’t an exact science, it is recommended that you clean teeth at a 45-degree angle, working on one section of your pet’s teeth at a time – and lifting their lip gently if necessary. The teeth situated in the cheek area are usually the grubbiest as it’s prime real estate for tartar – so spend a bit more time on this part.

8. Turn teeth-cleaning into a game
Polishing teeth needn’t be a chore – there are loads of dental toys which can really help improve your pet’s oral health, from mint flavour tough-chew dog balls, to all-natural stagbars.

9. Chew!
Just as the dog chew toys mentioned above can help scrub away plaque, so too can dog and cat dental treats. Hurrah! The perfect excuse to spoil your pet whilst promoting good dental well-being.

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 14.23.57

10. Feed your pet good quality dog food and cat food
Feed a dental dog food or dental cat food if you’d like to give your pet some added support when it comes to fighting plaque and tartar. Alternatively, feed a top notch grub, such as Purina Dog Food, Royal Canin or an all-natural food like Applaws or Barking Heads. Avoid feeding your pet your own food, instead give them treats that are specially formulated to keep their teeth (and the rest of their body!) healthy.

Shop the full dental range now.