Clean Teeth + Ears = Healthy Pet
Our pets rely on us to keep them healthy and aside from love, a good diet, and exercise we are also responsible for their hygiene. Bathing your cat or dog can be quite an undertaking that you may want to leave to the professionals, but cleaning their ears and teeth is simple and cost effective.
No matter the size or breed of your dog, tooth brushing can be an enjoyable experience and the sooner you start the easier it will be. Davy, my German Shepherd, has had his teeth brushed since he was a puppy. He is now four and looks forward to our sessions. Ginger, my senior rescue Walker Hound, was recently at the vet’s for a cleaning and some dental work which was a little rough on both of us. Now she is being introduced to a good dental regimen and prefers the tooth brushing and plaque prevention water additives at home to the vet visit, for sure.
When preparing to brush your pet’s teeth start with the right tools. You can use a pet toothbrush, a finger brush, or gauze wrapped around your finger for fragile cat teeth. Be sure to use toothpaste for pets, like the Oxyfresh products, which both Davy and Ginger approve of. This toothpaste is tasty and safe for pets, will cause no harm if swallowed, and contains enzymes or antiseptics that help control plaque. (Human toothpaste has fluoride and artificial sweeteners in it that are harmful to pets and should not be swallowed.)
Get comfortable and entice your pet to snuggle up, then gently lift their lips and rub the toothbrush back and forth method for 30-60 seconds on the outside of the teeth. Lavish your buddy with praise during the session and give them a treat afterwards to create a fear free experience. Making this enjoyable will lead to a better experience during future veterinarian examinations, too. A water additive is another easy hands off way to try to maintain a healthier mouth and gums. Simply follow the directions and add the correct dosage to your pet’s water bowl.
Ear cleaning is normal at my house and used as needed. Davy likes to play fetch and tumbles around, so he gets more debris to clean out. I check Ginger’s ﬂoppy ears regularly to be sure they are healthy and clean and just like the teeth brushing, she loves the treats afterwards.
Most cats are
fine without ear cleaning, but for those who are prone to wax build-up and/or
ear infections, ear cleaning is very important for their hygiene. For dogs however,
ear cleaning is a necessary part of their grooming needs. Some dogs need more
frequent ear cleaning than others especially dogs who are prone to ear
Cleaning your pet’s ears does not require any special equipment. A good quality pet ear cleaning solution, some cotton balls or gauze, and some treats to reward your pet are all that is needed. AVOID using cotton tip applicators (Q-tips) because it is too easy to perforate the eardrum, push debris deeper, or cause trauma in the ear canal.
It’s a simple procedure: gently squirt the pet ear cleaning solution into the ear canal, massage the outside of the base of the ear for about 30 seconds to loosen the debris, then use the cotton ball or gauze to wipe away the dirt and absorb the solution. You can also saturate the gauze or cotton ball and gently rub the inside of the ear. Be sure to praise your pet and give them a treat after each cleaning.
When cleaning your pets ears or teeth you have the opportunity to assess their health. If you find noxious odors, redness, or swelling you should call your vet to get them checked.
Home health care for pets is a great way to bond with your pet, a simple and fun practice to prevent health care expenses, and a good way to get them used to being handled making it easier for a vet’s exam when necessary. Plus, your pet will thank you for your tender loving care.