According to the AVMA, many pet owners don’t make a habit of providing good dental hygiene for their pets. Dr. Douglas Aspros, president of the AVMA, explains: “Good pet owners are concerned about their pets’ health and are careful to keep their vaccinations up to date, but may forget about the importance of oral health. Great owners know that this is a big mistake, as periodontal disease is the most common health problem that veterinarians find in pets.” An untreated dental infection can spread to other organs, such as the heart or kidneys, creating a life threatening situation.
Pets can be taught to tolerate daily brushing, and there are many products available to make the process more comfortable for the owner and the pet. The AVMA webpage at www.avma.org offers a video with step-by-step instructions on how to brush a pet’s teeth.
While it is certainly helpful to have a month designated on the calendar for dental health, you should not wait if your pet shows any of the signs of dental disease. The signs include bad breath, frequent pawing or rubbing at the face or mouth, red swollen gums, and reluctance to eat hard foods.
In the spirit of Dental Health Month, the AVMA is looking for photos of pets with beautiful teeth. Any pet is eligible, including livestock. View and submit photos to Pearly White Pets at www.flickr.com, or on the Pet Dental Health Month event page at www.facebook.com.