The holidays are all about showing your friends and family how much you love them, and one way you might do that is through thoughtful gifts. While you might purchase fun or amusing items for your human companions, one of the best ways to show your furry friend you love them is to give them the gift of great health. Oral health, in particular, is one area that deserves extra-special attention.
Caring for your dog’s teeth and gums goes much further than preventing stinky breath. Oral hygiene is intrinsically linked to your pet’s overall health. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to package great oral hygiene up and wrap it in a bow this holiday season!
Why is oral health so important for dogs?
Every dog owner should pay close attention to their furry friend’s oral hygiene for multiple reasons. First, proper mouth care is essential to keeping your dog comfortable and happy! Over time, plaque and tartar can cause damage to the teeth and gums. This can make eating terribly uncomfortable or painful for your pup. If left untreated, the damage might become so extensive that your dog will need to have teeth removed.
Even more important is helping your dog avoid periodontal disease. What starts as an accumulation of plaque on your dog’s teeth can quickly begin to affect the gum tissues, causing inflammation and pockets of tissue damage where bacteria gather. This can lead to extreme bone and tissue damage, which is painful and traumatizing to pets. Even worse, untreated periodontal disease can cause bacteria to travel to other parts of your dog’s body, potentially leading to problems with the heart, lungs and kidneys.
Taking care of your pup’s teeth and gums through tooth brushing and routine gum checks can ensure your dog’s teeth stay pearly white, that their breath is fresh and that their overall health is protected!
Tips for gifting oral hygiene
Because oral hygiene is so important for dogs, oral health-related items make the perfect gift for your furry friend! They might not be toys or treats, but they’ll be instrumental in keeping your pup happy and healthy for years and years.
If you want to put together an oral hygiene basket for your dog this holiday season, make sure to include these items.
- Toothbrush and puppy toothpaste: The cornerstone of any oral hygiene gift is a toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste combo. The type of toothbrush you select should be based on your pet’s size. Larger dogs might benefit from a standard toothbrush, while smaller dogs might need a special size or a finger brush, instead. The most important thing to remember is that human toothpastes are not safe for pets! You can find specially formulated pet toothpastes that come in a range of flavors your pup is sure to find delicious.
- Dental treats: Dental treats are both good for your pet and good to your pet! Veterinary Oral Health Council-approved dental treats have demonstrated benefits for your pup’s teeth, helping to scrape off plaque and leaving cleaner, shinier teeth. Dental treats are not sufficient on their own, however, so make sure you’re using them alongside a more robust oral hygiene routine.
- Dental toys: Similar to dental treats, dental toys are chewable rubber toys that help knock food particles and plaque off of a pet’s teeth. These toys are longer lasting than treats and don’t add any calories to your pup’s diet, so they can be used for months at a time!
- Oral health supplements: One last item you might want to include in your pet’s well-rounded dental hygiene gift is a supplement designed to improve oral health. Formulated with nutrients and herbs that support healthy gums, natural oral health supplements cap off your pup’s dental routine by soothing gum inflammation and reducing bacteria buildup in the mouth. These types of products are great for getting your pup’s oral health back on track if their gums are showing the early signs of irritation.
There’s no better way to show your pup you care about them than by giving them the gift of great health. One of the best ways to do that is to start with an area too often overlooked—the mouth. Have fun putting together your pup’s oral hygiene gift basket and spread love and health this holiday season!