According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. The Society states that by the age of three, some form of oral disease will be present in 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats. In order to raise awareness of oral disease and the importance of a dental hygiene routine in preventing disease, the month of February has been established as National Pet Dental Health Month.
Most general veterinary practices perform routine teeth cleaning procedures. If you haven’t visited your vet for a routine exam, and you notice any of the following signs of oral disease, please call and schedule an exam.
- A strong odor from the mouth or in the pet’s breath is the most common symptom of poor pet dental health.
- Look for excess tartar on your pet’s teeth. The tartar could be brown, green, yellow, or black.
- Be aware of a poor appetite, difficulty eating or possible pain while chewing.
- Look for redness of gums or swollen gums.
- Blood may be evident on a chew toy or in the food dish.
Keep in mind that plaque and gingivitis can lead to the development of periodontal disease which can in turn lead to more serious health problems.
Prevention of disease is always the best form of treatment. With prevention in mind, we’d like to list some things you can do to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.
- Some pets will allow you to brush their teeth, especially if they are approached at a young age. If you can, brush your pet’s teeth regularly in order to slow down the build-up of tartar and keep the gums healthy.
- Feed your pet a nutritious diet per your vet’s recommendation and add Missing Link supplements to the diet for optimal health.
- Ask your vet to recommend dental products or enzyme chews that are designed to help with tartar.
Pet dental hygiene is an important step to ensuring your pet’s overall health and longevity. We encourage you to let “National Pet Dental Health Month” serve as a reminder to you to take care of your pet’s oral health.