Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Tucker is not keen on teeth brushing.    
I don't know how I completely forgot that February is National Pet Dental Health Month!  Afterall, thanks to Rudy, I've been treated to puppy breath.

Of course, dental care for pets is about a whole lot more than sweet smelling breath.  It's about the overall health of our animals.  Keeping up with our pets oral hygiene should be a piece of their routine health care. 

Just as for humans, periodontal disease can lead to serious health concerns ranging from tooth loss to organ failure in our pets.  Nearly every adult pet has some degree of dental tartar, which is a cause of periodontal disease.  When our pets receive good dental care, they'll live longer and better lives.

What can you do? 
  • When you visit your vet for a routine check up, be sure that includes a dental check up.  If needed schedule an appointment with your vet for teeth cleaning.
  • Brush your pet's teeth every day.  I know it sounds like a hassle, but it becomes simply part of your daily routine.  You can use a soft bristled toothbrush or one of those nifty finger brushes.  Be sure to use toothpaste specially formulated for pets.  Human toothpaste contains fluoride and other ingredients that can be toxic to cats and dogs.
  • Feed your pet a good dental diet.  Extra crunchy kibble can help clean your pet's teeth.  Plus there are even several commercial dog foods that have been shown to improve pets peridontal health.  Don't be afraid to ask your vet for a recommendation.
  • Offer appropriate chew treats.  Some pet treats are specially designed to keep pet's teeth clean.  This is a great way to remove plaque and tartar from your dog's teeth. 

How can you tell if you should be worried about your pet's teeth?  Here are some of the most common signs of dental problems:
  • Yellow-brown tartar
  • Bleeding gums
  • Red, inflamed gums
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Change in eating habits
  • Pawing at the mouth
If you see any of the above, its time for a visit to your vet.

Even though I've spotted none of those warning signs... I feel like I should go brush my own teeth!

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