February Is National Pet Dental Month

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As most people know when you take in a pet that animal transforms into a part of the family. So it is important to realize that along with food, water, and lots of love there must also be health care. While it is vital to get your pet to a veterinarian for wellness visits, flea prevention, and shots there is one critical action that pet owners often overlook and that is the oral health of their pet.

As adults some of us know all too well the pain associated with gum disease, cavities, and broken teeth. We begin teaching children the importance of good oral hygiene at an early age. Dentists recommend that we brush our teeth at least twice a day, and don’t forget to floss. We are advised to have oral checkups and cleanings every six months. Yet, for many pet owners the idea of dental hygiene for their pet is neglected.

Dental disease is not just a human condition but also affects up to 80% of pets over the age of three. Unlike humans, pets rarely show pain since their instincts, which go back to the days in the wild, would show weakness to other animals. Therefore, our pets may show insensitivity to pain. But like humans, pets can suffer serious consequences related to poor dental health.

Puppies are born with twenty-eight baby teeth, kittens with twenty-six. Their baby teeth start to fall out by age six months and are replaced with their permanent teeth. Dogs have forty-two permanent teeth, cats have thirty.

But it is not just about the teeth! Dental disease, such as infected gums and teeth can cause much more serious problems. As with humans, pets can develop bacteria from tooth infections which could affect their heart valves, their kidneys or liver. This situation could also leave pets susceptible to a possibility of other diseases.

As I mentioned before pets become part of our family. We love them and it is sad that their life span is not as long as ours. If there was a way to keep them longer, wouldn’t you do it? Studies have shown that good oral hygiene for our pets, such as brushing and veterinarian cleanings can extend the life of a pet by three to five years.

Since human toothpaste is TOXIC to pets you should never use it. Most pet stores sell oral hygiene products for pets such as chicken or peanut butter flavored toothpaste.

I do know how expensive pet dental cleanings can be. As for myself, I have a Banfield Wellness Plan which I find very reasonable and includes this most important procedure. You will find Banfield Pet Hospitals at PetSmart stores.

Brushing of your pet’s teeth plus a yearly comprehensive oral exam and cleaning performed by a veterinarian could help keep your pet healthy, happy, and a lot longer in your life.

References:

http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/diseasesall/a/dentalcare.htm

http://ingersollanimalhospital.com/site/services/the-importance-of-pet-dental-care/

http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/pet-health-6-tips-dog-cat-teeth-cleaning

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