Did you know that February is actually Pet Dental Health Care Month? Well it is and why shouldn’t we recognize it? Unfortunately, the most diagnosed ailment that is a problem for pets is oral disease.
You might think that dental health care problems only surface with dogs and cats teeth and gums when they get older. But this is anything but the truth. The American Veterinary Dental Society tells us that 80% of dogs and a little less, about 70% of cats are prone to or have signs of oral disease at just 2 years old.
Conversely, even though over 80% of people brush their teeth daily few if any think about doing the same for their pets. So during the month of February veterinarians and pet owners take the time to highlight their support of better dental care. The program is designed to convince pet owners to sustain a program of pet dental health care and schedule regular checkups as part of regular preventative pet care routine.
Most animal lovers have no idea exactly how important dental care is for their pets. Just like us they need constant care for their teeth and gums. This also includes a regimen of brushing to eliminate any buildup of plaque which can lead to oral disease like Periodontitis.
This inflammation and infection of the gums can lead to major health issues like bleeding, bad breath, tenderness, pain and if not treated they can lose or have to have teeth removed. In the most serious cases it can also lead to heart, kidney and liver problems as well.
Although cavities seem to be rare in pets, they can occur. They have diets that are, unlike ours, low in cavity causing sugars. That why the best way to avoid some of these issues is to only feed those foods specifically formulated for your pets.
How do we let things get so far in the first place? This is because our lovable friends don’t really complain. They wag their tails and seem to be fine under almost all circumstances. We don’t really look at their teeth on a constant basis since they are hidden behind their lips.
The most important things to remember about pet dental health care is the following:
1) Brush your dog’s teeth daily. If you can’t do this on a daily basis then you should at least make an attempt to do so at least once per week at a defined time.
2) Keep control over your pet’s diet. Remember to only feed them food and treats made for them.
3) Give your pets chew toys and maybe a marrow bone from the butcher once in awhile to keep their pearly whites free from plaque. Ask your vet for their opinion.
4) Have your veterinarian check their teeth and put them on a yearly routine. Even when we do this, particular breeds, especially smaller dogs and cats are more prone to oral disease. Taking care of their teeth now will not only save them lots of pain but can save you a fortune and lots of trouble down the road.
5) Keep them away from sugary treats. This is the worst thing for them.
Remember, pets are part of the family. Just as you would practice a good program of oral health for yourself you should also do it for them. Go out and get them their own toothbrush and take care of the plaque. It really won’t be that hard and they’ll probably love the taste of the toothpaste.
Responsible dental care is the first thing you should do to take care of your pet!