Dental Care for Your Pet: February is National Pet Dental Month

You wouldn't go a lifetime without brushing your teeth. Neither should your pet!

Regular dental care is a very important part of keeping your pet healthy.

Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem affecting adult dogs and cats. Nearly 80% of all dogs and cats over the age of three have periodontal (gum) disease.

Without prevention and treatment, this can lead to tooth decay, bleeding gums, tooth loss, and even damage to internal organs.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Many veterinary practices offer discounted dental exams and cleanings during February.

Check your pets for these symptoms of oral disease

 
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Red, bleeding, swollen, receding or eroding gums
  • Yellow-brown plaque or tartar on the teeth
  • Loose, infected or missing teeth

Prevention and treatment options include dental cleanings by your veterinarian, brushing your pet's teeth regularly, and feeding your pet a specially formulated food to combat tartar and plaque buildup.

You can help your pet avoid periodontal disease by following this 3-step prevention program:

  1. Take your pet to your veterinarian for a dental examination. Don't wait for its annual checkup if you suspect a problem. Your veterinarian may recommend regular cleanings.
  2. Begin a dental care regimen that includes regular brushing and a nutritious diet. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to brush your pet's teeth.
  3. Schedule regular veterinary checkups—twice a year is best, especially for older pets. These are essential in helping your veterinarian monitor your pet's dental—and physical—health.

Some examples of what a professional dental cleaning by your veterinarian can do for your pet's teeth

Dog Before                                                                          Dog After

             

Cat Before                                                                          Cat After

             

Photos courtesy of Shauna Smith CVT

Published: March 17, 2009;    Updated: January 22, 2014

Filed Under: Dental, Companion Animals, Cats, Dogs

Author: Oregon Veterinary Medical Association

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