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Home Dental Care for Your Pet

What's one of the first things you do every morning? Brush your teeth, of course. Most of us can't imagine missing a day of dental care. Yet the same diligence does not hold true for many pets in the United States.

You can protect your pet from dental disease, not to mention, bad breath, by effectively brushing his teeth for only 1 or 2 minutes at least two or three times a week; daily brushing is best, if possible. All you need is a little patience and the right accessories to get the job done smoothly. Besides using the right accessories, it's important to start brushing your pet's teeth early. The sooner you start a home dental routine, the easier it will be for your pet to adjust to the process. And although it is best to begin brushing your pet's teeth when he is a puppy or kitten, it is never too late to start.

The two key components in your dental arsenal are your pet's toothbrush and toothpaste. Dr Brook Niemiec of Southern California Dental Specialties advises clients to always use toothpastes and toothbrushes made especially for pets. "Toothbrushes designed specifically for pets are smaller and softer and have somewhat a different shape, making them a better fit for your dog of cat," he says. Dental care is an important and simple way to prevent disease in your cat or dog. This small commitment can make a big difference to your pet's well-being. Besides, by brushing your pet's teeth daily, he will have a healthier and sweeter smile. With regard to toothpastes, those made for people contain ingredients that are not appropriate for pets. "Pet toothpastes are specially formulated not only to taste great but also to be safe for pets to swallow," Niemiec notes. In general it is most helpful for pet owners to ask their veterinarian's advice on the best dental products for their pet. Your veterinarian can help work together to take a bite out of this problem.

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Christine DeMeo Mazzeo Smith
Winston-Salem, NC

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