Did you know that February is actually petted dental care month? Well, it is and why should we not recognize it? Unfortunately, the most diagnosed disease that is a problem for pets is oral disease.
You might think that dental health problems only appear with the teeth and gums of dogs and cats as they age. But it’s anything but the truth. The American Veterinary Dental Society tells us that 80% of dogs and just under 70% of cats are prone or have signs of oral disease at just 2 years of age.
Conversely, even if more than 80% of people brush their teeth daily, few if any people think of doing the same for their pets. During the month of February, veterinarians and pet owners take the time to emphasize their support for better dental care. The program is designed to convince pet owners to maintain a pet dental program and to schedule regular checkups as part of the preventative pet care routine.
Most animal lovers have no idea how important dental care is for their pets. Just like us, they need constant care for their teeth and gums. This also includes a brushing regimen to remove any plaque build-up that can lead to oral diseases like periodontitis.
This inflammation and infection of the gums can lead to major health problems like bleeding, bad breath, tenderness, pain, and if left untreated, they can lose or have their teeth removed. In the most severe cases, it can also lead to heart, kidney and liver problems.
Although cavities seem rare in pets, they can happen. They have a diet that, unlike ours, is low in sugars causing cavities. This is why the best way to avoid some of these problems is to feed only foods specifically formulated for your pets.
How do you let things go so far in the first place? It’s because our adorable friends don’t really complain. They wag their tail and look good in almost all circumstances. We don’t really look at their teeth constantly as they are hidden behind their lips.
The most important things to remember about pet dental care are:
1) Brush your dog’s teeth daily. If you can’t do it daily, you should at least try to do it at least once a week at a set time.
2) Keep control of your pet’s diet. Remember to give them only food and treats made for them.
3) Give your pets chew toys and maybe a butcher’s bone from time to time to keep their pearly whites free from plaque. Ask your veterinarian for advice.
4) Ask your veterinarian to check his teeth and put them on an annual routine. Even when we do this, some breeds, especially small dogs and cats, are more prone to oral disease. Taking care of their teeth now will not only save them a lot of pain, but can save you a fortune and a lot of trouble down the road.
5) Keep them away from sweet treats. It is the worst thing for them.
Remember that animals are part of the family. Just like you would practice a good oral health program, you should also do it for them. Go out and get their own toothbrush and take care of the plaque. It really won’t be that difficult and they will probably love the taste of the toothpaste.
Responsible dental care is the first thing you need to do to take care of your pet!