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Dental health for your pet

Many pet owners have had the unpleasant experience of smelling bad pet breath. While this is often passed off as normal ‘animal smell’, it may actually be a sign of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is one of the most common ailments suffered by canines and felines over the age of 3. Needless to say, prevention of this disease can result in happier, healthier pets.

Healthy teeth can lead to a long, happy life for your furry companion.
photo by: Jessica Adkisson

In order to spread the word about dental disease in our pets, February has been designated National Pet Dental Month by the American Veterinary Medical Society, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and the American Veterinary Dental Society. So why is it so important to inform pet owners about their animal’s dental hygiene? Surveys conducted with pet owner’s note that only 1 out of every 10 individuals take measures to ensure that their pet’s teeth are cared for. It is easy to overlook the need for animal dental care because pets rarely get cavities, however the tartar and plaque build up that forms can lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease.

These dental diseases can easily lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and painful, bleeding gums. What’s worse is that if these diseases continue to go untreated, the bacteria in the infection can travel through the bloodstream and damage major organs.

Methods of Prevention:
Prevention of these diseases is quite simple and easy to implement into an everyday routine. One step is to only feed your pet dry, hard pet food. Wet food can speed up the process of plaque build-up, and may result in a need for more invasive professional dental services.

Another good method of prevention is brushing your animal’s teeth. This needs to be eased into through proper technique, however daily teeth grooming can substantially reduce the risk of gum disease and other dental problems in the future.

Where to Start:
Speak with your local veterinarian about what may be the best option for dental hygiene for your pet(s). As time and budgets permit different options for each individual, they can better assist you in figuring out a plan that suits your personal needs.

Helpful Resources:
Littleton Veterinarians
Helpful Dental Hygiene Hints
Dental Care Products

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