February is National Pet Dental Health Month and I would be remiss not to pay homage to such a worthy cause as dental health. Our overall health is impacted by dental health and research continues to prove this time and again. Our pets are no different, good dental health and hygiene will help reduce their risk of disease, improve overall health, and add years to their lives. I don’t know about you but I want to keep my pets happy and healthy so we can enjoy good health and life for as long as we can.
Bad breath could be the first sign of oral health problems in your pet, so don’t ignore foul smelling breath. Gum disease and chronic inflammation of the gums increases our risk for heart disease. Inflammation and bacteria of the gums also increases our pet’s risk of heart, lung, and liver disease. According to the American Veterinarian Medical Association, oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. Do not assume bad breath or “dog breath” is normal — it is not. Your dog’s breath should not stop a clock and if it does you need to schedule a dental examination with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Tooth or consequences — seven signs of pet dental disease:
• Yellow teeth or teeth covered in tartar;
• Bad breath;
• Weight loss and/or a decrease in appetite;
• Loose teeth;
• Facial or mouth sensitivity;
• Drooling or dropping food; and
• Bleeding gums.
Now that we know the warning signs of oral disease, what can we do to help promote good dental health in our pets? Schedule an oral exam with your veterinarian making sure to discuss ways and regimens you can do between veterinarian visits. Hobo the Wonder Dog visits his veterinarians Dr. Mark Watson and Dr. Ann Combs at least once a month. I believe regular visits and socialization with Hobo’s veterinarians decreases stress and prevents a negative association with the veterinarian clinic. These frequent visits allow us to monitor his weight and build a close relationship with his healthcare partners.
National Pet Dental Month is important and is the perfect time to schedule an appointment to have your pets teeth cleaned. I am sure after you see your dentist you don’t stop brushing your teeth, making it a good time to start a home dental care program for your pet. Be sure when starting a dental program you use only products approved for pet use. Do not use regular human toothpaste for your pet. Most human toothpastes include fluoride and sweeteners that are poisonous to dogs. There are plenty of pet approved dental products on the market check with your local pet store for products safe for your pet. I also recommend visiting the American Animal Hospital Association (www.aaha.org) to learn how to brush your pet’s teeth and start a new habit for better health. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (www.vohc.org) also has a list of pet approved products to promote dental health. It is worth noting, nothing will replace a comprehensive dental examination by your veterinarian.
Hobo the Wonder Dog celebrates National Pet Dental Month with a dental exam and clean teeth. Healthy teeth are the road to better health; it is simply the best gift you can give your pet! Tooth or consequences.
Hobo is a rescue dog out to make a difference in animal rescue and education. Please follow Hobo on Facebook at Hobo the Wonder Dog or contact him at: [email protected]