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Disclaimer: This information is general in nature only. While Budget Direct has endeavoured to ensure the information we’ve relied on is accurate and current, we do not guarantee it. Budget Direct accepts no liability for this information.

As responsible pet owners, we strive to ensure that our pets are healthy and well looked after — whether that’s by educating yourself on the foods or plants your dog shouldn’t eat or understanding the best way to help your kitten settle into its new home, we do it for the health and wellbeing of our furry friends.

Part of that care also includes regular oral hygiene, which our pets need to help their teeth stay healthy and functional, in addition to preventing dental plaque and periodontal disease.

At Budget Direct, we’ve engaged with our in-house vet experts who have outlined a combination of at-home and professional dental care for dogs and cats. To make sure you’re committing to your pet’s dental care here are six dental care tips for cats and dogs.

1. Regular dental check-ups

It’s important that you take your pet to regular dental check-ups and teeth scaling and polishing if recommended by your vet. These visits provide a great opportunity for your vet to assess your pet’s oral health and should also start at an early age.

Depending on the outcome your vet may recommend further dental management at home and/or a full dental examination. Remember your vet may recommend that your pet be put under general anaesthesia so that they can clean their teeth, take x-rays, or treat any dental issues.

2. Oral or dental treatments

If your pet has persistent bad breath, gum, or dental disease your vet may prescribe an available dental treatment or remove any teeth that may be causing issues.

3. Daily brushing for dogs and cats

If your pet will tolerate it, daily brushing is the gold standard for dental health. It should be done at least 5 times a week to help prevent build-up that can lead to dental disease.

You can start the process by purchasing a toothbrush that is specifically made for dogs or cats and a special pet toothpaste that won’t upset your pet’s stomach. You can start by slowly introducing daily brushing into your pet’s routine and continue until they become more comfortable over time.

When brushing your pet’s teeth you should always:

  • Add a small amount of special pet toothpaste
  • Hold the brush at the correct 45-degree angle
  • Brush in a circular motion with gentle pressure
  • Brush for 30-60 seconds on each side of your pet’s mouth
  • Reward your pet for good behaviour

4. Try out a dental diet

With guidance and specific recommendations from your vet, you could also try out a pet-specific dental diet.

Many premium dry pet foods are available for both cats and dogs that aim to control build-up inside their mouth. This special food is often made up of larger kibble and is formulated with fibres that are aligned to act like a toothbrush while your pet is eating. They also help to slow down the dental disease process and reduce plaque from forming on your pet’s teeth.

It’s recommended that you start your pet on a dental diet from an early age otherwise it may not be wise to start them on this type of diet until their teeth have been professionally scaled and cleaned.

5. Dental treats and chews

There are many dental treats and chews that will reduce plaque, but unfortunately not prevent it. Unapproved dental chews don't help much either and even less if they are eaten quickly. It’s best to listen to your vet’s advice on dental treats and chews because they can let you know which products are going to suit your pet and be the most effective.

6. Look for products approved by VOHC

You should consider looking for dental care products approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). VOHC reviews and recognises products based on data from trials conducted according to VOHC protocols. With this data, VOHC can assure pet-owners of each product’s effectiveness as a preventative pet dental care product.