The American Veterinary Medical Association and veterinarians sponsor National Pet Dental Health Month during February to raise awareness of the importance of good pet dental health. Their hope is to get the word out to pet owners that preventative care is the best care for dental health. They encourage pet owners to brush their pet’s teeth regularly and have a dental health regime. Preventative care is the best way to keep your pets’ mouths clean and healthy into their senior years in honor of the annual February National Pet Dental Health Month.
Dental Checkups During National Pet Dental Health Month
Regular yearly veterinarian visits should include a pet dentist checkup for your pet. Infections in your pet’s mouth will lead to more serious health problems. An infection becomes life-threatening when it spreads to the heart or kidneys. Signs of dental disease are pretty obvious if you keep regular checkups with your veterinarian and also taking the time at home to regularly look at and check your pet’s teeth for the following:
- Swollen Gums that appear red
- Unusually bad breath, even worse than what you would consider normal
- Bleeding from the mouth or gums
- Scratching at or rubbing the mouth or face, more than what would otherwise be normal
- A sudden aversion to crunchy and hard foods, but willing to eat soft things
Importance of Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
We brush our teeth every day, often several times a day so we should brush our pets teeth as well. We teach our children how important dental health is by brushing their teeth and teaching them good dental habits. In recognition of National Pet Dental Health Month, there is no reason that we shouldn’t do the same for our pets. The thought of putting a toothbrush or finger brush into our dog’s mouth may make some of us cringe, but if you start when your pets are puppies and kittens, they will be just as tolerant of teeth brushing as our children become.
Dogs are likely to be more tolerant of teeth brushing than cats. If you start early enough and have the patience to work with your cat every day or every other day over a period of a month of two, you should be able to find a technique that your cat will tolerate. It may be easier to use a small cat toothbrush or finger toothbrush to fit in the animal’s small mouth. Dental rinses and gels are also available if the brushing doesn’t seem like it will work out.
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