Sat February 2, 2013
Pet Dental Health Month
Pets, especially dogs, have a natural smile - but it looks even better when they can show off their pearly whites!
Your dog is excited to see you, and jumps up to give you a big doggy kiss – unfortunately, your pet has DOGGY BREATH! The term “doggy breath” usually refers to the often unpleasant odor as a dog pants close enough so you can smell it.
It’s true that even on a really good day, most dogs – and cats, too – don’t have the sweetest smelling breath. But imagine if you never brushed your teeth. Your breath would not smell so sweet, either. So, while it might be commonplace, bad breath in a pet is nothing to smile about. In fact it can be an indication that your pet may have dental problems.
We humans brush our teeth to remove the bacteria and food particles that develop into plaque. Your pet’s bad breath could be a sign that enough plaque has built up on its teeth to cause a bad odor. Your dog or cat could suffer some pain and even loss of teeth, but that’s not the worst part. If left untreated oral infections could get into the animal’s system and eventually result in problems with one or more major organs.
It is possible to brush your pet’s teeth – but we’ll get to that in a minute. It’s a good idea to ask your veterinarian to check your pet’s teeth when you take it in for its annual checkup and vaccinations. It may be necessary to have your dog or cat’s teeth cleaned, which means scraping away any plaque that has built up – which usually means general anesthesia because most pets don’t want to sit still and open wide.
Then talk to your vet about brushing your animal’s teeth. If you do, make sure you use toothpaste specially formulated for pets, because the kind for humans could make your animal sick. And consider giving your pet some chew toys; they can keep your dog or cat entertained while working to help keep those teeth clean.
February is Pet Dental Health Month, a good time to remember that good dental health can help our pets live a better life. And since they help make our lives better every day, that’s something we can all smile about, when we’re speaking of pets.