|Photo via Thinh H.|
February is National Pet Dental Health Month, which means it's time to talk about teeth! Teeth are a very important tool for our pets. Mostly, they are used to chew and eat their food but they can be used for other things too. It's important to take care of your pet's teeth because a number of health conditions can occur from poor dental health in pets.
You can help keep your pet's teeth healthy by brushing them with a toothbrush and pet-friendly toothpaste on a regular basis. Never use human toothpaste, as the fluoride in it is toxic to dogs and cats. You can also give your dog or cat chew toys and treats which are good for removing tartar buildup.
While these steps are good to take in preventing tartar, they will not actually remove any buildup that is already on your pet's teeth. For that, your pet may need to have a dental procedure or teeth cleaning done at the veterinarian's office. Many veterinary clinics have special deals during the month of February on dental cleanings, so give your office a call and see if they have any special discounts going on. If you'd like to know what goes on at a dental cleaning, here is some more information.
After your pet gets their teeth cleaned, you may be wondering what you need to do for their post-dental care. These tips will help your furry friend feel better and more comfortable after they have their teeth cleaned.
How will my pet feel after they have their teeth cleaned?
Your dog, cat, or even your ferret (yes, they need dental care too) is likely to feel groggy, sleepy, and maybe even a little whiny and clingy after their dental procedure. These are typically done under anesthesia, so this is all perfectly normal.
|Photo via Michal Bielecki|
Most of the time, a routine dental cleaning should not cause much pain. It may cause some discomfort, however. Depending on the procedures they had performed while under anesthesia, most pets feel fine by the next day. If there were more extensive treatments performed during the teeth cleaning, such as tooth extractions, doxycycline implants, heavy tartar, etc., then they may feel more painful and for a longer period of time.
If you are concerned that your pet is feeling painful after their dental, check with your vet about what medications they can prescribe for pain. Never give your dog or cat pain medicine that is meant for humans. Tylenol and Ibuprofen are both toxic to pets.
When you bring your pet home that afternoon, it's probably best to give a soft food that evening at meal time and maybe even the next day for breakfast. Their gums may be sensitive and soft food won't be so hard on them. Plus, if your pet's appetite is down this might entice them to eat. Most dogs and cats love moist food.
If they had a tooth extracted or some other painful procedure done while at the vet, you may need to feed them soft food for a much longer period of time. You can ask your vet how long they recommend feeding a soft food for after a tooth extraction.
Chewing is more of a dog thing, but some cats enjoy it too. Don't allow your dog or cat to do any heavy chewing immediately after their teeth cleaning. This is mostly just to prevent any pain that it could cause.
And of course, if your pet had teeth removed you will want to strictly prohibit chewing for an extended period of time. Again, you can ask your vet how long your pet should not chew on toys or treats.
Continue Preventive Care at Home
Now that your furry friend's teeth are all clean, you should continue preventive care for them at home. Regular brushing and providing healthy chew toys will help slow down the build-up of yucky tartar and plaque on their teeth. You can also use an oral hygiene rinse to help keep your pet's teeth healthy. A good one is C.E.T Oral Hygiene Rinse for Cats and Dogs and it's carried by some veterinarians.
|Photo via John Morton|
Remember that prevention is key! If you can continue to take care of your pet's teeth, they may need less dental cleaning procedures in the future. Let us know how you keep your pet's teeth healthy in the comments below!