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Best Practices For Oral Health and When to Seek Medication

This February, show your pet’s smile some love! February is National Pet Dental Health Month, the perfect time to create new oral health habits with your furry family member.
Just like with people, a pet’s oral health is a critical part of their overall wellbeing. Ensuring your pet has a healthy mouth is the key to preventing dental disease, oral pain, and even organ damage. And, of course, a clean mouth can also help you avoid dreaded doggy breath.

3 Pet Dental Health Tips

A pet’s oral cavity differs drastically from that of a human, and so is how you should approach their dental health. Here are our favorite pet dental health tips:

1. Brush Daily

Brushing your pet’s teeth daily helps to prevent the build-up of tartar and bacteria that can lead to dental disease and other health issues. Don’t know where to start with this new routine?
  • First, familiarize your pet with pet-safe toothpaste by placing a small amount on your finger and gently rubbing it on your pet’s lips, gums or teeth.
  • Then, work up to using a toothbrush by putting toothpaste on the bristles and allowing your pet to lick it off (most pet-safe toothpaste comes in flavors they enjoy). Brush in small intervals until you work up to a more thorough cleaning.
  • Finally, you don’t need to open your pet’s mouth to brush their teeth — insert the brush between the lips while holding the mouth closed with your other hand and brush along the gum lines.
Pro Tip: It can be helpful to position yourself behind your pet to brush their teeth.

2. Dental Exams

Just like how you go to the dentist every year, your pet should be getting a preventative dental cleaning and evaluation at least every one to two years. Dental check-ins are determined by your veterinarian on an individual basis but are generally three to six months following the first visit.
During a dental cleaning, your pet will likely be placed under general anesthesia. The veterinarian will then perform a:
  • Thorough dental examination, likely tooth by tooth
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Plaque and tartar removal and polishing
  • Mouth examination, looking for gum bleeding and periodontal pockets

3. Proper Diet & Supplements

Feeding your pet the right food and supplements can help maintain a healthy mouth. A kibble diet (especially larger-sized kibble) is best for removing plaque and helping to avoid any food buildup in hard-to-reach crevices. You can even look for dental-health-specific food!
A daily oral chew can also be beneficial. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has a handy list of approved dental chew treats so you can make sure you’re giving your fur baby something that’s good for them. Remember that these daily supplements should be tailored to your pet’s weight and chewed on for at least five minutes before being ingested. You may also want to consider using a dental water additive with every water change for added support.
Lastly, it’s important to be conscious of the chew toys you’re giving your pet. Avoid hard chew toys like antlers, horns, or bones. These nearly indestructible toys can actually fracture your pet’s teeth.

Signs of Dental Disease in Pets

Of course, even with proper dental care, pets may be prone to dental disease (periodontal disease). These are some of the signs of dental disease in pets that often require veterinary intervention and medication:
  • Inflamed or red gums (gingivitis) is often the first sign
  • Bleeding gums or blood in saliva
  • Gum loss or receding gums
  • Loss of bone around the teeth
  • Tooth loss, in extreme cases
Luckily, periodontal disease in pets is both preventable and treatable with the right care and medications. If you notice any of these signs of dental disease in your pet or any other oral problem (i.e. a broken tooth or trouble eating), it’s best to seek veterinary advice. Your veterinarian will be able to assess the problem and help you understand the next steps, whether that’s to undergo a dental cleaning or prescribe medication.

Mixlab: Your Partner in Pet Dental Health

Let Mixlab be your partner this National Pet Dental Health Month. As a full-service, specialized veterinary pharmacy that offers next-day pet med delivery across the United States, we can supply you with the pet meds needed for oral health. Note, a valid prescription is required.
Some popular antibiotics we supply include:
  • Doxycycline
  • Clindamycin
  • Minocycline
  • Amox/Clav
  • Azithromycin
And prescription pain medications like:
  • Carprofen
  • Meloxicam
  • Deracoxib
  • Robenacoxib
We’re happy to work with veterinarians to find the best solution for their practice and their patients. That’s why we offer everything from a variety of compounded medication in flavors and forms pets take, to clear administration instructions to help improve compliance.
Get in touch with the team today to learn more about Mixlab and the medications we provide.