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Pet Dental Month is in February each year

According to the DogTime website, ‘Eighty percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some kind of oral disease by the age of 3.’ Just as with people, your dog’s teeth need to be kept clean and free of plaque that can cause periodontal disease, which, just like humans, can lead to heart disease.

Note the dark stains.
Note the dark stains.
Melissa L. Stoneburner

Teeth pain, whether or not it is you experiencing it or your canine is, is hard to deal with. Depending on each living being’s tolerance to pain, will be the determining factor for mood and demeanor changes. If you don’t believe it, just ask your dog’s vet – or pay attention to your mood the next time you get a toothache.

Being a dog owner takes time and commitment. One of the most important commitments is to ensure your pet’s health and well-being – this includes oral health!

Since dogs are unable to brush their own teeth, it is your responsibility! If the dog is acting strangely, perhaps it has everything to do with the fact that their mouth hurts!

Besides brushing your dog’s teeth, it is vitally important that the dog has some crunchy dry food to help keep the dog’s teeth clean and healthy. While soft food can be added to help strengthen their gums, food stuffs alone cannot do the trick.nYou should really brush your dog’s teeth the recommended three times each week in order to keep them healthy and happy!

It is easier to get into the routine if you begin the process from the time the dog is a small puppy. The dog may even enjoy getting their teeth brushed because it gives them some one-on-one time with the person or people they generally love the most.

If you adopt the dog at an older age or if you did not begin the brushing process when the dog was younger, the process is not always enjoyable. In fact, it can be a downright nightmare for a lack of better terms! That is why it is important to help the dog relax before getting his or her teeth brushed.

If only you could reason with a canine and explain to them that if they do not get their teeth brushed that their teeth could get brittle and literally break off in their mouth or that their gums may become so unstable as to drop teeth out of their mouth. Either, you would tell them, would cause them so much pain and discomfort that it is easier to be proactive than reactive. But you cannot explain this literally, you will have to display it figuratively.

DENISE BARAN–UNLAND (dunland @shawmedia.com) pointed out in her article that appeared in The Herald News (Joliet, Illinois) today that you may want to make teeth brushing easier for the dog by selecting a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste (they even make some meat flavored!). When you begin the process, it is okay for the first few times to give the dog a treat (sometimes placing it on the brush itself) in order to constitute that brushing can be fun. At the least try to apply the doggie toothpaste and let the dog swish it around; sort of like mouthwash. Plenty of fresh water, dental related chews (such as Nylabones) are also good for a dog’s teeth. Healthy pet gums should be pink and teeth should be free of any discoloration (plaque buildup).

If all of this dental hygiene is maintained, your dog will be healthier and happier in the long run. He or she will be able to avoid more destructive health issues such as a bad heart.

So, during February, 2014, if you have not already started, make the commitment to yourself and to your furry best friend to take care of their teeth better. You will both be very pleased by the outcome!