Did you know that February is Pet Dental Health Month? During this month, the American Veterinary Medical Association is reminding pet owners to care for their pets’ teeth just as they care for their own.
Many of you might ask Why should you be concerned with your pet’s dental care? According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs develop periodontal disease by the age of three years, and it’s the most common dental condition affecting our pets. And it’s not just an issue of doggie bad breath; your dog’s oral health has an impact on his or her overall health. Inflammation can lead to heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, and diabetes.
The American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS) recommends bringing your dog to a veterinarian for a dental exam and then scheduling regular checkups so your vet can monitor the progress of your dog’s dental health routine. In addition, the AVDS recommends beginning a dental care regimen at home to keep your dog’s teeth clean and free from plaque and tartar.
Here are some ways you can help keep your dogs teeth clean and healthy:
1. Brush Up. Most people brush twice daily without ever brushing their dog’s teeth. Brush your pup’s teeth at least weekly to keep them clean. (Yes – you, your dog, a toothbrush.) Look for brushes designed for dogs, including those that fit on your fingertip that be accepted more readily, and don’t forget toothpaste for dogs. It’s unsafe to share your Crest since dogs do not spit out the paste, and chicken and beef flavored paste will make brushing much more appealing to your dog anyway. Be sure to press the paste down into the bristles, so your dog doesn’t simply lick it off the brush. Introduce brushing to your dog by massaging your dog’s gums with your finger; next do the same with pet toothpaste on your finger. When your dog accepts or even begins to look forward to this routine, introduce a toothbrush to his teeth, starting with short intervals and working up to about 30 seconds a side. Offer plenty of praise afterward and make it part of your dog’s daily or weekly routine.
4. Play Away Plaque. Chew and rope toys not only entertain your dog, but also promote dental health by stimulating gums and keeping teeth clean. Look for toys specifically created to promote dental health, such as ORBEE Tuff Balls or KONG rubber toys