February is Pet Dental Health Month
Posted February 01, 2018
Dental health in dogs and cats may sometimes be
overlooked by pet owners. However, just like humans, pets need
regular dental cleanings to keep their gums and teeth healthy.
As part of pet dental health month, Dr. J.R. “Bert” Dodd, a
clinical professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained some common dental
hygiene issues in dogs and cats.
“Poor oral hygiene in dogs and cats can lead to excess tartar,
swellings in the mouth, and severe wear of the teeth (or broken
teeth) from chewing on inappropriate objects,” he said.
In addition, neglected oral health can also lead to gum disease,
which left untreated, can make your pet more susceptible to other
health complications. For example, bacteria in the mouth can spread
to other parts of the body and cause infections.
Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy is easier than you think. While
your veterinarian can help through routine dental check-ups and
treatments, most dental hygiene issues can be prevented at
“It is best to begin home care when your puppy or kitten is
between 8 and 12 weeks old; however, it is never too late to
start,” Dodd said. “The first step is to train your pet to accept
the brushing of their teeth. The best approach is to establish a
routine of brushing your pet’s teeth with gauze that is wrapped
around your finger. It may be helpful to use beef or chicken broth
with dogs or tuna water with cats to get them accustomed to the
routine instead of using cleaning agents.
“Once your pet is familiar with the daily routine, you can
switch out the gauze for a finger brush or a soft toothbrush,” he
said. “Then you can incorporate using veterinarian-approved pet
Even if you do regularly care for your pet’s teeth, you should
visit the veterinarian if your pet has persistent bad breath or
experiences bleeding from the mouth or tooth, a change in eating
behavior, and sensitivity to touch around the mouth; this may be a
sign of a more serious dental health condition, Dodd said.
Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy can help them live a longer,
healthier life, so as part of pet dental health month, consider
making a veterinary appointment to have your pet’s teeth examined.
Your pet will thank you with a smile.
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