February is Pet Dental Health Month, intended to bring awareness to the importance of healthy teeth and gums when it comes to pets’ well being – because when it comes to optimal health, it’s more than just diet and exercise that matter.
Your pet’s teeth are like little icebergs: what you see is just a fraction of what’s beneath the gum line. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than half of all all pets (80% of dogs and 70% of cats) show signs of oral disease by age three; if left unattended, bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections in the lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver. But, knowledge is power! So here are some quick tips to help maintain your pet’s pearly whites before anything like that happens.
- Brush Up. If your pet’s ok with it, try brushing their teeth. There are toothbrushes and toothpaste for pets that will scrape and prevent plaque buildup, or you can use a swipe or a spritz of an easy-to-use dental spray.
- Regular Check Ups. Proper veterinary care is key. Your pet’s routine examination should include their teeth and gums and is recommended at least once a year.
- Consider a Cleaning. Talk with your vet about any deals or discounts they may be offering this month and make the appointment.
- Some pets can’t get enough chewing, which naturally strengthens gums and scrapes tartar, but others may need some prompting – consider a dental-specific treat, as their shape and ingredients are intended to do the same.
- Diet Matters. Just like what we eat has a ripple effect on our health, pets’ diets do too. In general, wet foods tend to cause more buildup than dry ones and low grade ingredients can affect the strength of teeth over time. Consider a high quality diet with wholesome ingredients and, if possible, avoid giving your pet solely wet food.
How do you care for your pet’s chompers? Share your tips and tricks with our Facebook community!