nav-left cat-right

Keep Those Pearly Whites Clean

By Jenny AndersonDachs toothbrush shutterstock_109821797

Special to Today’s News-Herald

Let’s face it—brushing a pet’s teeth is not an easy task, and our animals usually make it a real effort; however, there are some techniques that help accomplish teeth cleaning without the struggle.  We do not have to deal with a resistant pet—struggling and hunkered down with clenched jaws.   Today there so many products made specifically to help facilitate clean teeth.

One option, especially good for uncooperative cats, is to dip a Q-tip into chicken or beef broth or specially formulated pet toothpaste.  Because the taste is pleasant, the task is easier.  Another option is to use dental wipes which are available at pet supply stores.  These wipes are good for animals that resist anything in the mouth.  A third option is the dental chews or tarter-control treats  which have a nubby or rough design and simulate brushing as they are chewed.

Be wary though; using some products can potentially cause painful tooth fracturing.  Plastic bones, ice cubes, antlers, and bully sticks — all are very tough on the mouth and do not break down like bones do.  I refrain from giving my dog any chew which does not easily digest and break down in her system.  My dog, like too many others, tends to swallow large pieces too quickly.  She has also developed a fractured tooth while chewing a hard object and this was potentially painful.  The tooth had to be removed—an unexpected and expensive procedure.

Inflammation around the teeth and gums is one of the most common illnesses treated by veterinarians.  This condition is not to be taken lightly or ignored.  Inflammation leads to systemic infection and ultimately affects major organs.  When an animal, especially a cat, is found with gum disease, a veterinarian often needs to do more work than simple tooth cleaning.  In many cases extractions are necessary.

Prevention is the key here.  Developing a regular dental routine will save you the complications of periodontal disease and the associate expenses in treating it.  February is “dental hygiene month”, so let’s renew our efforts to keep those pearly whites shining.

Neuter 4 Nada is again being sponsored by the Western Arizona Humane Society through the month of February.  The first fifty male cats (by appointment only) will be neutered at no cost.  Contact the shelter to schedule the procedure.

If you enjoy watching the Oscars, mark your calendar for Feb 22.  A live telecast of the awards will take place on the big screen at the Ultrastar Cinemas. This event begins at 5 p.m.  and hors d’oeuvres will be available. The fee is just $20 and all proceeds will benefit the Western Arizona Humane Society.

The Western Arizona Humane Society is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with kennel hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 855-5083 for details. To find lost pets, call 855-4111. View animals found at


Share With Your Friends!