With today being Valentine’s Day, what better way to show your dog how much you love it, and want to provide the best for their life, than by getting their teeth cleaned during National Pet Dental Month? Proper oral care is critical for a pet’s health and happiness. It is estimated that only one in 10 pet owners make sure their pet’s teeth are cared for and brushed on a regular basis so the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) uses the month of February to educate and promote dental health to pet owners. According to the AVMA, oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets, and affects 80 percent of dogs by the age of three.
Below are tips, facts and advice about the dental health of your dog’s teeth:
- Brush your pet’s teeth daily or as often as possible, and use an oral rinse to rub on gums. Additionally, get your pet’s teeth examined professionally every six to 12 months.
- Small and toy breed dogs, specifically those fed a soft food diet exclusively, are at an increased risk for dental disease and should have their teeth examined more frequently.
- Dogs have 42 teeth (and cats have 30), while humans have 28 (without wisdom teeth). That’s 14 more teeth for dogs that can develop problems.
- Dogs have the remarkable ability to hide dental pain. Their desire to eat outweighs pain they may have in their mouth. Owners cannot easily tell if their dog has a toothache or pain from an abscess.
- Monitor your dog’s breath; bad breath typically signals there is a dental health issue.
- A full dental cleaning under anesthesia is the only way to thoroughly clean each tooth above and below the gum line, evaluate the dog for periodontal disease, and polish the teeth after the cleaning.
- Non-aesthetic dental treatment, while less expensive and free from the risk of anesthesia, is less effective and can carry their own risks with a conscious and mobile dog, especially when carried out by non-veterinarian professionals.
- Severe periodontal disease can lead to an infection. The infection may be severe and weaken the jawbone, causing it to break, which can be very painful and difficult for the veterinarian to treat.
- One of the most common forms of canine cancer is oral cancers. Proper and regular veterinary oral exams may catch cancer early and potentially allow for a cure or an opportunity to treat the disease.
- Some dental diseases can lead to life threatening infections of the pet’s blood and heart.
Owners who maintain proper canine dental health, especially in older dogs, is paramount to the health of the dog. Most pet insurance plans cover dental cleaning. During National Pet Dental Month many veterinary offices offer discounts during February to encourage owners to make dental health a priority for their dog’s health. With 15 days left in the month of February, there’s time to schedule a dental appointment with the vet.
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