February is pet dental health month. Did you know that dental disease is the biggest pet health problem for dogs and cats? According to Dr. Jen Kablunde of Northwood Animal Hospital, 8 out of 10 pets have dental disease after the age of three. In her interview with UpNorth Live, an ABC affiliate, she tells pet owners what they can do to promote healthy teeth and gums in their pets.
Cats and dogs need daily dental care. This is as simple as brushing their teeth. You do not need to brush the tongue and insides of the teeth. Just brush the area closest to the cheeks. If you attempt to brush the insides, you run the risk of getting bit.
There are times when brushing is not enough or brushing is not possible. Some pets will just not cooperate with having their teeth brushed. In these situations, dog and cat owners can add an enzyme rinse to their pet’s water. The enzyme is unflavored and unscented. It breaks down the harmful bacteria in your pet’s mouth. This can be a substitute for brushing or it can be used in conjunction with brushing for pets that have dental problems.
Signs that your pet is in need of professional dental care are bad breath and noticeable tartar on any of the teeth. Red, bleeding gums, broken teeth, trouble eating and tooth loss are other signs that a problem exists.
Poor dental health can contribute to other health problems in your dog or cat. Problems such as bad breath, painful abscesses, tooth loss, and difficulty eating are just a few of the issues caused by bad dental health. Other more serious problems include heart, liver, and kidney disease are also caused by poor dental health.
Talk to your vet about your cat or dog’s dental health. Many veterinarians are offering free or low cost dental exams during February to help promote good dental health in pets. Take advantage of the dental care your vet offers—it can add years to your pet’s life.