Sadly, periodontal disease is the most common condition which affects adult dogs and cats. Did you know by the age of three, most dogs and cats have some level of periodontitis? Yet this condition is entirely preventable with a proper dental health routine. Follow this checklist and you can keep your pet safe from painful gum deterioration down the line:

Start Young

You want to start young and make dental hygiene a habit for both you and your pet. Don’t wait until a few years in, because your pet will likely have developed gum disease already. Start when they are a puppy or kitten. Your pet should be used to you being around its mouth, whether brushing teeth or inspecting for problems.

Make it Routine

Dental hygiene needs to be as much a part of the routine of caring for a pet as walking, feeding, and bathing it. If you can’t remember to brush your pet’s teeth, then write it in a calendar or make a regular alert on your phone. Otherwise, months or years could pass and it will be far too late to make up for lost time.
Look for Signs of Trouble. There are many signs that your dog may be developing periodontal disease. Keep an eye (and nose!) out for signs like bad breath and +excessive drooling.

Inspection Time

Every week or so, physically inspect your dog’s teeth and gums. Your dog’s gums should be pink. If the gums are red or white or show signs of swelling, contact your veterinarian. Make sure the teeth are clean and not covered in plaque or tartar.

Brush the Teeth

Your pet’s teeth need to be brushed at least every few days. Do not use human toothpaste. Ask your vet for a special canine toothpaste or make a mix out of water and baking soda. Use a special dog toothbrush or wrap clean gauze around your finger and gently brush the teeth.

Chew Toys

Your dog will enjoy chewing on toys, and you’ll enjoy the fact that chew toys can strengthen teeth, massage gums, and clean teeth by scraping away plaque and tartar. Just make sure you use toxin-free toys from reputable manufacturers.

Proper Diet

Avoid feeding your pet human food. Choose dog food and healthy dog treats which specially formulated to promote your pet’s dental health. Healthy dog treats like dental chews, for example, can help fight tartar and plaque and improve teeth and gum health.

Veterinary Check-Up

Your veterinarian plays an important role in the dental health of your pet. Check with them to stop gum and dental problems before they grow out of control. Consult your vet for recommendations on products which can help keep your dog’s mouth healthy.

If you follow this checklist, you can help stave off gum disease and tooth decay and keep your furry friend at the peak of dental health.

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