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Smile, doggie. Smile, kitty. It’s pet dental health month!

Posted Feb 12 2010 2:12pm

It’s time to think teeth! February is Pet Dental Health Month.

What shape are your pet’s teeth in? If you’re like a lot of pet ownersyou may not have given much thought to your pets teeth. Dental care is an important part of pet care thoughand shouldn’t be overlooked.

Imagine never brushing your teeth. Pretty disgustinghuh?

Your parents probably taught you to brush your teeth from a very early age. They knew that if you didn’t take care of them starting as a youngsteryou’d have problems later on. The same is true for your pets. The earlier you start taking care of their teeththe better off they’ll be healthwise. Doggie (or kitty) breath isn’t something your pets should have to live with.

Here are five reasons why it’s important to pay attention to your dog or cat’s teeth:

Bad Breath
While it may seem that bad breath is just an annoying part of having a dog or catit’s actually a symptom of a larger problem. It means your pets’ mouth needs attention! Think of how your breath is first thing in the morning. What do you do? Get out the toothbrush! If your pet has some nasty doggie or kitty breathmake an appointment with your veterinarian. Your pet may need to have his or her teeth cleaned. After that’s done is an ideal time to start brushing your pet’s teeth.

Periodontal Disease (aka gum disease)
Periodontal disease develops as food particles and bacteria collect along the gumlineforming placque. Placque combines with the minerals in the saliva and forms tartar (calculus). The build up of tartar irritates and inflames the gums and causes gingivitis and voila…periodontal disease is born. If not taken care ofthis can lead to tooth loss – not to mention a heck of a lot of pain.

The American Veterinary Dental Society estimates that more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop periodontal disease by the age of 3 years. Taking care of your pet’s teeth can greatly reduce the chances of periodontal disease.

Other Diseases
Bacteria build up from placque and calculus can travel through the bodycausing a variety of health problems. Liverkidneyand heart disease have been linked to poor oral hygiene. Damage can happen over timeso don’t ignore your pet’s teeth even if they are beautifulshiny teeth.

Loss of teeth
Taking care of your pets teeth will greatly reduce the possibility of losing teeth due to poor oral hygiene.

During pet dental health monthmany veterinarians offer discounted dental exams and teeth cleaning. If your cat or dog hasn’t had her teeth looked at by a veterinarian lately this is the ideal time to do so.

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