Ok, today we’re going to have some fun exploring simple ideas for how we can better support our ‘fur babies’ in their oral health journey.
Honestly, this article really got its inspiration from a silly video we took at home with one of our beloved pets (that’s JayB in the article image :).
Be sure to look to the end of the article for a silly but precious video of me applying the Bass Brushing Technique to a cat!
First, let’s discuss what not to do for your pet’s oral health.
Keep essential oils (including our HealThy Mouth Blend) away from cats.
As apex predators, cats are extremely sensitive to environmental changes.
Essential oils are too strong for cats to tolerate (and they can even be toxic to them). In particular, the volatile compound menthol (found in many plant essential oils) is deadly toxic to cats.
To test their sensitivity for yourself (without putting your kitty at risk), simply handle an orange and then offer your cat to smell your hand.
You most likely won’t get your hand anywhere near your cat before they squint their eyes and back away.
The bottom line is that cats are very sensitive to loud noises, strong smells, and basically anything that can overwhelm their sensory input.
So, please keep all essential oils, including our HealThy Mouth Blend, away from any kitties in your home.
Keep xylitol (and products like Shine that contain xylitol) away from dogs.
Xylitol is deadly toxic to dogs.
It takes only 500mg of xylitol to make a medium-sized dog sick, and this amount is enough to kill a small dog. Given that one piece of xylitol gum can contain upwards of 300mg of xylitol, it really doesn’t take much to cause serious damage and risk even killing a dog.
Xylitol causes a precipitous drop in blood sugar for a dog. This can trigger seizures, brain damage, and liver damage in a matter of hours to days.
So, even though you want to support your pup’s enamel health, you can’t use Shine (or any other xylitol-containing product) with dogs.
However, if you’re still looking for a way to support your pup’s overall oral health, many members of our community have told us that they’ve used our HealThy Mouth Blend on their dogs with great success.
The adhesion inhibition benefit (which helps reduce plaque thickness) that we all get from using the HealThy Mouth Blend can really help a dog to maintain greater oral health (and surely helps to get rid of dog breath! 😃 ).
We even know some people who put a drop or two of the blend into their dog’s water bowl.
If you’d like to reduce the spicy flavor for them, feel free to mix our blend 50/50 with organic coconut oil and brush their teeth with that (coconut oil has plenty of antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties to also help support oral health).
“How do I optimally care for my dog and/or cat’s oral health?”
Caring for a pet’s oral health is pretty much the same as caring for a toddler’s.
When you try to really effectively brush their teeth, you get about the same level of cooperation from a young child as you would from a pet.
As a side note, please don’t restrain your young child in an effort to brush their teeth. If you’re curious about why we don’t agree with this practice, feel free to check out our article, “How to create a healthy brushing routine with your toddler or young child“. This article also shares strategies for how to create a peaceful and healthy brushing routine with young children.
Circling back to our pets, to optimally care for our cat or dog’s oral health, we need to take care of them just like we do ourselves, which includes:
- feed them what they were meant to eat
- give them a low-stress living environment
- give them plenty of time to play outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air
- help them get regular exercise
- help them get quality rest time
For our feline friends…
Cats are pure carnivores that eat a blade of grass here and there for plant fiber and the detoxifying support of green foods.
As such, they have pretty sensitive digestive tracts with a narrow range of optimal foods.
Ideally, our pet cats would eat whole animals that are comparable in size to what they would hunt in the wild.
In fact, JayB, the star of this article, regularly catches, kills and eats all sorts of small rodents.
This way, he gets not only the muscle meats, but the whole range of diverse nutrition and microbiome support from the rodent ‘whiskers to tail’.
We supplement all of our kitties’ menus with raw animal muscle meats and occasional organ meats.
We’ve also learned the hard way that kitties are better off with moderate amounts of fish in their diet. Too much fish can over tax their kidneys and create a risk of urinary issues, especially in males.
In our home, we haven’t found a dry food that adequately supports our kitties’ nutritional and metabolic needs.
From our view, there is no place for grains of any sort in a cat’s diet.
For our canine buddies…
Dogs are omnivorous and scavengers. So dogs can withstand a much more diverse diet.
Full disclosure: we’re a very feline-friendly home, but we have little experience with dogs. So, we’ll limit our canine food suggestions to the general information stated above and let others offer more pup-friendly diet ideas in the comments.
“Should I brush my cat and/or dog’s teeth?”
If your dog is cooperative, brushing their teeth can be a helpful oral hygiene strategy.
And unless you have an extremely sweet and playful kitty like we do, trying to brush your cat’s teeth is likely only going to produce stress for the kitty and some potential blood loss for you.
So, while lots of dogs may be willing participants, it’s probably best to avoid brushing your cat’s teeth. The potential benefits for cats are outweighed by the risks to both the kitty and you.
What about caring for the oral health of larger animals?
Ok, this is officially just for fun.
This is Sunny. He loves to play the game ‘Pick it up’.
Since we’re having fun with pet images, we thought we would throw in a fun picture of Sunny for grins. 😃 We’ll share a video of Sunny getting his teeth professionally worked on later…
What’s your strategy for your four-legged loved ones?
Do you have any suggestions to add to the discussion about how to support our fur babies along their path to optimal oral health? Please share in the comments below!