Monday, February 9, 2015

February is National Pet Dental Month

Eighty percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some kind of oral disease by the age of 3.

Dental disease is more than just a cosmetic issue.  When your canine companion or feline friend has red gums, yellow teeth and stinky breath, it could be a sign of serious oral disease that could, if let untreated lead to devastating affects on your pet's quality of life. 

Neglecting your pet's teeth and gums can cause chronic pain issues that may even be at the center of certain behavioral problems.

But never fear, pet owners, February is National Pet Dental Health Month, so now is the perfect time to call your veterinarian and schedule a dental check up for your furry family member.

Oral disease can lead to serious consequences for pets, including infection, severe pain and even organ damage. 

With regular oral health maintenance and check-ups, most of these problems can be avoided.

Your pet's dental health should be a concern all year long.

Between regular veterinary examinations, pet owners should look for the warning signs of gum disease such as bad breath, red and swollen gums, yellow-brown crusts of tartar along the gum lines, and bleeding or pain when the gums or mouth are touched.

Pets with developing gingivitis and periodontal diseases often paw at their face or mouth frequently, have excessive drool and may exhibit an unwillingness to eat harder foods.

As with many health issues, prevention is always the best medicine.  

One way you can take a proactive role in preventing oral disease in your pet is by using an important tool that many pet owners neglect to purchase for their four legged friends - a toothbrush.

A soft bristled toothbrush should be used to clean your pet's teeth daily to remove any food particles and prevent the build up of tarter and plaque deposits.  

Make sure to only use toothpaste that is specially formulated for us on pets.

Overall health begins with a good diet but did you know that many dental health issues are caused by malnutrition. 

Work with your veterinarian to address your pet's nutrition and develop a healthy eating plan.

Your veterinarian may recommend a professional teeth cleaning for your dog or cat once a year or as needed. 

Performing a thorough oral exam requires the use of general anesthesia, so your vet will first give your pet a pre-anesthetic exam.  Once the anesthesia is administered your pet's vitals, including respiration, temperature and heart rate, will be monitored while the veterinarian takes dental radiographs and uses instruments to scale and polish your pet's teeth.

Removing tarter and plaque build up that could otherwise lead to dental issues.  

In cases of serious oral disease, your veterinarian may recommend a tooth extraction.

Keeping on top of your pet's dental health has lasting positive effect.

Maintaining oral health can add up to five years to your pet's life.

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