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Monday, February 04, 2008

February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

February is National Pet Dental Health Month!

This great reminder to take care of your pet's health is sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association, and hopes to bring awareness of the importance of caring for the teeth of your pets!

"More than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by the time they're three years old. This can lead to serious health problems," explained Dr. Brook Niemiec, a board certified specialist in veterinary dentistry. "Make sure every veterinary checkup includes a thorough inspection of your pet's teeth and gums, and a discussion on how to keep them healthy and clean between visits."

The AVMA offers some more tips and information on how to keep your pet's teeth healthy:
  • Look for signs of tooth decay and oral disease by inspecting your pet's teeth regularly. Bad breath, discoloration and tartar are all indications of problems that could lead to serious health risks with the potential for not only damaging teeth and gums but internal organs.
  • Regular visits to your veterinarian should include a complete checkup of your pet's teeth. Your veterinarian should clean plaque and tartar off your pet's teeth if necessary. When tartar—created by the mixture of food debris, saliva and bacteria in the mouth—is allowed to build up it can accumulate between teeth and gums causing tooth loss, and result in an infection that could enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart or other internal organs.
  • Brush your pet's teeth daily or at least weekly. While most dogs or cats will not immediately accept a dental hygiene regimen, it can be successfully introduced with patience, particularly if you start when the pet is young.
  • To acclimate your pet to dental health, start slowly using plenty of praise and treats. Begin at a time when your pet is relaxed and massage the outside of their mouth with your finger. Then give them a taste of pet toothpaste—poultry-flavored is the most popular—and then slowly introduce a toothbrush to their teeth. Begin brushing in short intervals, working up to about 30 seconds a side.
  • Dogs don't accumulate as much tartar on the outside of their teeth as they do the inside, so focus your dental hygiene attention there.
  • Feed your dog or cat crunchy food, or at least a mix of hard and soft foods. The abrasive texture of kibble can help keep teeth clean, while soft food can cling to your pet's teeth and lead to decay. Also consider crunchy treats, which also help clean teeth.
  • Chew toys for dogs and rope toys that cats can chew are not only immensely entertaining for your pet, but also keep teeth clean and breath smelling fresh.
Here's a video on how to brush your dog's teeth from Reesa. Nice job Reesa!

My favorite toothpaste? C.E.T!

CET Toothpaste for Dogs and Cats

Check out these additional toothbrush and toothpaste resources!

And for more great info on keeping your dog's teeth looking and chewing their best - visit my Squidoo Lens!

1 comment:

  1. This is a very informative post. Some pets are really hard to make them behave well. Maybe it takes lots of patience just to do it properly.


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