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Dental Care
 
Dental care is the most overlooked area of pet health care. Dental disease of dogs and cats does not just affect the mouth but can lead to more serious problems including heart, lung and kidney disease. It is very important to begin proper dental care for your pet from the start.

Puppies develop 28 temporary teeth at two to three weeks of age. Their 42 permanent teeth emerge at about four months.

Kittens develop 26 temporary teeth at two to three weeks of age. Their 30 permanent teeth emerge at about three to four months.

Oral examinations and teeth cleaning are the two critical components of pet dental care and should begin at the puppy and kitten stage of life. Veterinarians provide basic oral examination while your pet is awake, but a short-lasting anesthetic is needed for a thorough exam as well as for teeth cleaning.

Home dental care is equally as important as oral examinations. Brushing your pet's teeth every day if possible offers the same benefits as with humans. Begin by dipping a finger into beef bouillon (for dogs) or tuna water (for cats) and gently rub along your pet's gums and teeth. The most important area is along the gum line where plaque forms. Once your pet accepts this, introduce gauze over a finger and rub both the gums and teeth in a circular motion. Next graduate to a pet toothbrush or an ultra-sensitive design for people.

Hold the bristles at a 45-degree angle to the tooth’s surface, again moving in a circular motion. Gradually add special dog of cat toothpaste. Never use people toothpaste or baking soda, as both will upset your pet's stomach.

In addition to brushing, feeding your pet unmoistened dry pet food and offering a hard biscuits after each meal help keep plaque to a minimum on the crown of each tooth.