From the time we were knee high to a grasshopper, our parents impressed upon us the importance of good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth first thing in the morning. Brush your teeth after every meal. Brush your teeth before going to bed. That was an awful lot of brushing but those who struggle to follow those admonitions kept their bright smiles longer. It didn't end with the brush, brush, brush; it went on to floss, floss, floss. We were instructed to floss after every meal to get all those food particles that the brush, brush, brush, missed. Well, mom and dad had our best interests at heart and we, as pet parents need to have our companion's best interest for good oral hygiene on our hearts as well. February is Dental Hygiene Month. Well, if your companion is a Gold Fish, you can disregard the rest of this article.
Just as we have our teeth cleaned twice a year by a professional dental hygienist, we need to have our pet's teeth cleaned twice a year by a professional veterinarian hygienist. Between professional cleanings, we need to brush our companion's teeth for them. OK, relax. You don't have to brush their teeth first thing in the morning, after every meal, and then again at bedtime. Twice a week will do nicely thank you. If you think that I'm asking a lot of you and you only have one dog and maybe a cat too, think of what I go through with seven cats and two dogs. Just look at it as being a labor of love.
If you haven't had a oral hygiene program set up for your pet, the first thing that you need to do is call your vet and set up an appointment to have their teeth cleaned professionally. Chances are that they probably have a sizeable plaque build up and the hygienist has the tools to get it off so you have clean teeth to start your oral hygiene program with. If you don't have a family vet, I recommend developing a relationship with the Shaker Veterinary Hospital located at 223 Maxwell Road in Latham. Their pet dentistry department is state of the art, the best in the Capital Region. On your first visit to the dental hygienist, he or she will show you the proper way to brush your pet's teeth at home and recommend the best dental products to use on your particular dog or cat's teeth.