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February is National Pet Dental Health Month. More than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of dental disease by the time they are three years old. This can lead to serious health problems. Luckily there are numerous ways to prevent and treat dental disease.
Our pet's mouths are the perfect place in which bacteria can flourish. When we don't brush our pet's teeth and stimulate their gums, these bacteria start to multiply causing gingivitis, plaque and tartar build-up. These toxins enter into our pet's bloodstream, circulating through the brain, kidneys, liver and heart causing infection, disease and deterioration of these organs.
Good dental care is not limited to just dogs and cats. It is important to assure your other pets, such as guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchillas and birds have their teeth, or beaks, well cared for. The pocket pets, such as guinea pigs, rabbits and chinchillas, often need their molars and front teeth trimmed. When their teeth are not properly aligned, it is very difficult for them to chew their food, resulting in malnourishment. In most cases, the molars will grow spines and cause injury and infection to their cheeks and tongues.
Some simple ways to prevent dental disease include looking in your pet's mouth regularly to check for:
- reddened gums, and
You can also have your veterinarian examine your pet's mouth during their annual exam. Discuss having your dog vaccinated with the new dental vaccine. Offer dry food rather than wet food, this will help stimulate the gums and reduce plaque, which leads to tartar build-up. Offer your pet toys to chew on. Hard toys from the pet store or special dental chews offered through your veterinarian help to eliminate bacteria in the mouth. You can even brush your pet's teeth. This may be challenging for some pet's but start out slowly and gradually build up to daily or at least weekly brushings. Have dental cleaning's done on your pet's teeth, as recommended by your veterinarian.
National Pet Dental Health Month is a time of year in which hundreds of clinics across the nation come together to promote good dental health among our patients. During this month many clinics (including Mission Valley Veterinary Clinic) offer a discount on dental cleanings. We take dental care so seriously we are extending the discount through the month of March.
If your pet bites or is uncomfortable, please do not attempt brushing or examining your pet's mouth. Instead, please contact our office, or your regular veterinarian for an appointment.
For more information on dental care and how to brush your pet's teeth, please contact our office at (510) 797-2323.