The short answer from your veterinarian in Ypsilanti is yes, you must brush your cat's or dog's teeth, but there is obviously a long answer here. The real question is why? It is not crazy to think that when those animals are out in the wild, there is not a fresh bottle of toothpaste or a nice electric toothbrush waiting for them on their kitchen sink in the woods. That much is certain. But, just like all animals with teeth, including humans, there is a large world of bacteria, infection, and other problems inside of mouths if there is not something to combat these issues.

But, My Pet's Teeth Aren't Dirty?

Your pet has a special ability to clean their teeth without using dental products. The saliva in a dog's or cat's mouth is different from a person's saliva. Their saliva is stronger and helps bring back essential nutrients to the enamel of their teeth, and also helps to break down food particles. The toys you buy them also work to clean their teeth. Most dog toys are designed to get in between their teeth when they chew, so it sort of is like brushing their teeth, just in a more unconventional way. Cats have a scratchy tongue that gives them the ability to brush with their tongue. That usually does a pretty good job of keeping their mouth healthy and clean.

So, I Should Brush Their Teeth?

It is a good idea to monitor your pet's oral hygiene. If they have toys that take the plaque off their teeth, then you can get away with giving them a treat that will help with bad breath, or to give them a specially made toy that is designed specifically for cleaning teeth. However, if you see any yellowing, black spots, or even notice your pet not chewing or eating much, then it may be caused by an oral related issue. Cleaning their teeth is the first step towards better health. When they are young, if you can, teach them that brushing is a good thing by rewarding them for letting you brush their teeth, it becomes easier to do. If you find that you cannot get rid of their bad breath by brushing or treats, then having a vet look into the matter may be warranted.

Animals do not need their teeth brushed every day. Give them something to eat or chew on that will do the work for you and them. However, once in a while, for instance, when you give them a bath, go ahead and clean them. This will greatly reduce the risk of infections and oral problems your pet may have if their mouth stays dirty. Call our veterinarian in Ypsilanti at (734) 485-1622 for more information