February is National Pet Dental Health Month
As humans we brush, whiten, and clean our teeth on principle. We know how important dental health is for us, so let’s get our pets’ dental health on the same page! 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by the age of three. The mouth is the gateway to the body. A clean mouth is key to maintaining overall pet health. Bacteria from the mouth can get into a pet’s bloodstream causing serious health problems including heart, lung, and kidney disease. Let’s prevent the preventable! In three steps…
Step 1: Get your pet an annual dental exam. A regular check-up with your vet should include a careful examination of your dog or cat’s teeth and gums. This can help catch teeth & gum trouble spots before they become serious. Should you vet feel that a professional dental cleaning is needed, you can discuss options for the procedure, which will usually include putting your pet under general anesthesia.
Step 2: Start an at-home regimen. Only about 1% of pet owners brush their pet’s teeth but a soft-bristled toothbrush is one of your best defenses against tartar and bacteria. Using small, circular motions, work in one area of the dogs mouth at a time. Make sure to lift the dog’s lip; the area where the tooth meets the cheek is where tartar likes to live so finish brushing with downward strokes to remove the tartar. Other options include supplements, dental bones, sprays/gels & mouth wipes.
Step 3: Chew toys are another option to add into your pet’s daily life to improve dental care. A toy can help massage your pet’s gums helping to keep their teeth clean. The same goes for animal products and parts that are designed to keep you pet occupied. Items like bully sticks, rawhides, antlers and raw bones are a terrific (and easy) way to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy and tartar free. The chewing and gnawing on these animal parts scrape your pet’s teeth of any plaque & tartar buildup. This is the most natural way to maintain dental health in your animal. It’s also the least stressful for both of you!
Don’t let your pet be a statistic. Schedule that vet appointment, pick-up a toothbrush or a raw bone and make it your mission to maintain your pet’s dental health in 2016!