Best Practices for Puppy & Kitten Dental Care
Have you just got a new family member? Does it have four legs and a body full of fluff? Do you want to know the best practices for puppy & kitten dental care?
Welcoming a new pet into the family is exciting but with that, there also comes a lot of responsibility.
We all want healthy pets, having a pet plan will help to make this achievable and easier in the future. Quite often people forget about their puppy & kitten dental care. Which, results show is the number one cause of poor health in dogs. With only two percent of dog owners looking after their dog’s oral health. Cat’s are not too far behind with between fifty and ninety percent of cats over four years old suffering from dental diseases.
This can all be prevented if you invest the time into your puppy & kitten dental care. Starting when they are young and working it into their routine so it becomes an everyday habit.
Best Practices for Puppy & Kitten Dental Care
When puppies are born they don’t have any teeth. After roughly three weeks you may notice your pup will start teething by approximately six weeks. They will have a mouth filled with baby teeth known as their deciduous teeth. Avoid giving them any teething toys at this stage as their baby teeth, although sharp are very weak. All your pup should be putting in its mouth is its mother’s milk and as it passes the four-week mark a slow introduction to soft puppy food is allowed.
Your pup’s teeth will begin to fall out from twelve to twenty-four weeks. You may find the odd tooth around the house but most dogs swallow these when eating which isn’t anything to panic over.
Teething can be a tough time for your puppy and your house. Finding the best toys to help your pet through this difficult time is vital. The reason your puppy chews on everything is to help it relieve the discomfort of growing teeth. It’s a time for them to explore the world with their mouths.
Two of the best teething toys for puppies
Kong Classic Puppy – This is recognised as a staple toy made from natural rubber and is excellent for puppies that are teething. This toy allows you to put a variety of different treats inside that will keep your puppy distracted and away from your favourite pair of shoes. Putting frozen treats inside this toy is a great way to soothe their irritated gums.
Nylabone Puppy Teething Chew Pacifier Bacon – Made to satisfy the chewing instinct of teething puppies and encourage non – destructive chewing. This colourful toy has an added bonus, with bristles that will help clean your pup’s teeth and prevent a buildup of tartar. This toy is not recommended for dogs that have permanent teeth.
Try a soother or a softer toy
The softer toys are also great for puppies that may have been weaned off their mums too young. Or perhaps are orphans and a little bit anxious.
Natural Nippers Cuddle Plush Ring – If your puppy prefers a nice soft cuddle then this adorable toy will be ideal. Suited to a younger puppy who might be exploring textures but not quite ready to go full force as they haven’t developed their chew yet. It has a built-in squeak that will encourage your puppy to interact with it, keeping it busy for hours.
As your puppy grows and develops they will want different things from toys. Keeping an eye on this and changing accordingly will support them with their growth. You will be more informed as to when it is time to move on to the next step in their pet dental care.
Their age isn’t the only thing to consider when they are growing. Their breed and size may influence what type of soother/ toy you give them. For example, if you have a large breed puppy then it will more than likely be stronger and have a tougher bite. So a soft teething toy won’t be as effective and they will more than likely destroy it. A rubber toy designed for puppies would be a better option as they have a tougher exterior.
Be prepared for the furniture chewing
When your puppy reaches the stage of teething. The home can become a danger zone for your four-legged baby. They want to chew EVERYTHING and will attempt this at least once a day. The Spruce Pets have some brilliant advice on how to prevent those puppy teeth from biting into everything. Get yourself a non-toxic chew deterrent such as Johnson’s Anti-Chew or Milly & Milo Scratch No More. This will allow you to spray onto different areas the puppy likes to gnaw and chew. If it is a large area then why not drape some fabric over the desired section.
Make sure you puppy-proof the house to avoid any disasters and the same applies to their toys. You don’t want your pup to fracture any of its teeth. Especially if their adult ones have fully formed because this could have an impact on their eating.
At twenty-four weeks old your puppy should have all if not most of its adult teeth. You may now notice a reduction in their chewing because their gums will have calmed and the teeth settled into their mouths.
Get in to a routine with their dental care
If you haven’t already started you should be able to introduce your puppy to their dental hygiene routine. There are many tools out there that can support you with this daily task.
Although most dogs get great pleasure from chewing and biting things you’d rather they didn’t. When it comes to brushing their teeth, this sometimes doesn’t go down as well as expected. There are a few tips to help get your dog used to having their teeth brushed.
As we have mentioned before, starting them young is the best way to make it part of their daily dental routine. Before brushing, allow them to smell and play with a dog-friendly toothbrush. They won’t see it as a threat and their scent will be all over it. When you feel like your pup is comfortable with the brush. Pop a pea-size amount of dog-friendly toothpaste onto your finger and allow them to lick it off and develop a taste for the minty stuff.
If your puppy is still feeling a little anxious about the whole experience. Try brushing their teeth in a place they feel safe and comfortable, with their favourite blanket or toy. The idea is to make the experience as relaxing as possible. If you can introduce a bit of fun and get them excited then all the better.
At your dog’s own pace you can slowly start to massage the brush and paste together over their teeth. Repeating this daily add drops of pup wash to their water bowl if you feel they require a little bit of extra help to maintain a fresh clean mouth.
Puppy Toothbrushes can be a great help
We have three brilliant puppy toothbrushes on our website. With two completely different designs to help suit the needs of different pups.
Vet’s Best Dental has a great package that includes a small silicone finger toothbrush and some puppy toothpaste allowing you to gestalt massage and brushes their teeth.
Arm and Hammer and Tropiclean have a small puppy dental kit combining the puppy toothpaste, a brush that has a three hundred and sixty-degree head making it easier and quicker to reach all those awkward angles, and a small silicone brush that acts as a massager for those delicate gums.
As mentioned before, not all dogs will allow you to brush their teeth. Never force this upon them, especially when there are other alternatives to keeping their teeth in good condition.
Have you tried dental sticks?
There are many brands out there that supply dental sticks for puppies. These can be used alongside brushing your puppy’s teeth or instead of a pup brush for the more anxious puppies.
Soopa has created some delicious puppy sticks, full of nutritious ingredients that will keep your puppy’s breath fresh and help give them a winning smile that’s bound to break many a heart. These are designed for puppies aged three months and over, a great way to encourage pawfect pet hygiene.
Whimzee’s also has an amazing selection of dental pet care chews designed to protect a puppy’s growing teeth. They come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and will not only help with their health but also keep them distracted for a period of time.
If you are at all anxious or unsure about puppy & kitten dental care and cleaning your puppy’s teeth then visiting your local vet should help you as they may have some excellent dog cleaning techniques suited to your dog’s specific needs. The RSPCA are fantastic experts on all things animal and they talk about how some dogs, for example, Pugs and Chihuahuas have poorly aligned jaws that impact their teeth and are more than likely to suffer from poor dental health.
Kitten Dental Care
Like dogs, adding pet dental care to your cat’s list is something that is overlooked. A kitten’s baby teeth are hidden until they are around three weeks old, this is when their baby teeth will start to break through the gums and you may start to notice a change in their behavior as they slowly start to sink their teeth into anything they find suitable around the house. When your kitten reaches the ten-week stage they should really have most of their baby teeth, if there appear to be several missing teeth then it might be an idea to contact your local vet for a quick check-up.
Symptoms of teething kittens
Eating less – Their gums may be too sensitive and sore resulting in them chewing at a slower pace. It might be an idea to keep an eye on this, especially if you notice a change in their weight.
Inflamed or sore gums – As their new teeth start to pierce through their gums, this could lead to inflamed gums, bad breath, and mild gingivitis.
Increased irritability – This might be caused by sore gums as a result of teething.
Excessive chewing – The need to chew into anything to soothe their little gums.
Keep them distracted from your furniture
Just like dogs, trying to keep your cats distracted when going through what can be a somewhat painful time can be challenging; however, there are different products designed to help them.
True Hemp Cuddle Cushion Catnip is an amazing toy that will keep your kitten occupied for hours, containing a mixture of hemp leaf and catnip which should help distract them from any discomfort.
Stick with soft toys that will be easier on their teeth, avoid tugging too hard as this could loosen new teeth.
Dental chews are another great option because these not only distract but also clean your kitten’s teeth. VETIQ has a delicious bag of HealthyBites that will keep their mouths clean whilst smelling delicious. The great thing about these is you can start your kitten on them and continue to feed them as they grow.
Dental chews are known to significantly reduce the amount of plaque and tartar buildup in your kitten’s mouth.
There aren’t as many options open to aid in cleaning your cat’s teeth. But you can use the small silicone finger brush that people use on their puppies. Using the same process and massaging their teeth and gums.
Try a cat-friendly toothpaste
Don’t forget to slowly introduce them to cat-friendly toothpaste. Again put a little on your finger allowing them to lick it off. When they begin to develop a taste or liking for the paste you could start to apply it to their gums so they can taste it inside their mouth making it easier for when the brushing begins.
If your cat doesn’t take to the silicone brush, try using a cotton swab dipped in tuna water so they can associate it with something positive, and then introduce the cat-friendly toothpaste. If this doesn’t work, dental treats are the way forward.
By the time your cat is six months old they will have lost most if not all of their baby teeth, this is the best time to start brushing their teeth because their gums will have healed and you want to get them into the habit of brushing. These will be their permanent set of teeth so it is important to look after them.
With both puppy & kitten dental care, making sure they are eating a well-balanced and healthy diet will also have an impact on their growth and development, this includes their oral health. We need to start talking more about our pet’s dental health and sharing tips.