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What to Know About National Pet Dental Health Month

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. This holiday reminds pet owners to take care of their pet’s oral and dental health and help their pet avoid oral and dental diseases. Oral and dental health issues can affect your pet’s comfort, happiness, and overall health and can actually significantly shorten their lifespan. Dental infections and periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and organ damage, and eventually cause death. Here are the most important things for pet owners to know about pet dental health. 

Preventing Oral and Dental Diseases

Just like humans, pets are at risk of oral and dental disease. When plaque and tartar build up on your pet’s teeth, they harbor dangerous bacteria that can cause tooth decay and infection. Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases to affect cats and dogs, and most pets have some stage of the disease by the time they are three years old. If tooth decay or periodontal disease goes untreated, your pet is at risk of infection. An infection can spread through the bloodstream and end up damaging your pet’s organs.

Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth at Home

One of the most effective ways you can protect your pet’s dental health is through at-home teeth brushing. Your veterinarian can recommend the right toothbrush and toothpaste for your pet. You can typically use a children’s toothbrush or finger brush for small dogs and cats, and an adult toothbrush for large dogs. You can also use dental wipes to remove food, plaque, and tartar; however, wipes aren’t as effective as toothbrushes. Dental chews and treats can also remove plaque and tartar and create a protective barrier that reduces the risk of plaque and tartar buildup. 

Professional Dental Exams and Cleanings

Your pet should visit the veterinarian every year for a dental exam and checkup. Your veterinarian can look for early warning signs of dental and oral health issues and provide professional advice and recommendations for maintaining your pet’s health. You should also ask your veterinarian how often your pet needs a professional dental cleaning.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian today for a dental checkup for your cat or dog.