When it comes to optimal pet health, most people think diet and exercise are all that matter, but there’s another key contributor to keeping your pet in tip-top shape: their teeth. February is Pet Dental Health Month, intended to bring awareness to the importance of healthy teeth and gums when it comes to Fido’s well being.
Think of your pet’s teeth as little icebergs: what you see on the surface is just the beginning compared to what’s beneath the gum line. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80% of dogs (and 70% of cats) show signs of oral disease by age three, which can lead to bacteria getting into the bloodstream and causing life-threatening infections in different organs (most commonly the lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver.) But, before you worry too much, here are a few quick tips to help maintain your mutt’s mouth before it gets to that level.
● Brush Up. If your pet will let you, try brushing their teeth. Whether you get the supplies from your pet store or prefer your vet’s recommendation, there are toothbrushes and toothpaste for dogs that will scrape and prevent plaque buildup.
● Regular Check Ups. There’s no substitute for proper veterinary care. 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 a cleaning (they may even be offering a discounted rate for the month.) The same way going to the dentist benefits us, a veterinary-administered cleaning can do for them.
● Diet and Chewing Matter. Among the first noted benefits of a raw diet include cleaner teeth and better breath, and don’t discount the effect of specially formulated treats to help scrape teeth and prevent plaque build up.