February is National Pet Dental Health Month, which makes it the perfect time to review your current dental routine. Because unfortunately, failing to care for your pet’s oral health can come back to bite you.
Why Should You Care About Your Pet’s Dental Health?
Our pets’ mouths are the gateway through which harmful bacteria can enter. If periodontal disease or an oral injury is left untreated, an infection can set in and eventually spread through the bloodstream to other parts of your pet’s body.
Additionally, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society, by age three, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will develop some stage of oral disease.
Thankfully, a bit of daily preventive care combined with regular checkups and dental cleanings goes a long way to keep your pet’s whole body healthy. It may not be easy at first, but believe us – it’s worth it.
Tips & Tricks For Pet Dental Care
- Become familiar with your pet’s mouth. About once a week, lift your pet’s lips to examine gums and teeth, and gently open the mouth. Check for any masses, swelling, cuts, tooth fractures, or bleeding.
- Get brushing! If daily toothbrushing isn’t part of your pet’s daily routine, it’s time to add it in. (Yes, cats too!) Try these tips to get your pet comfortable and learn proper technique. One idea: Keep your pet’s toothbrush and toothpaste near their food and medication, so you can brush either immediately before or after they eat.
- Offer appropriate toys for oral health. While many toys are marketed to clean teeth, toys that are too hard (such as hard rawhide, antlers, bully sticks, ice cubes, real bones, etc.) can wear teeth down or even lead to fractures in overeager gnawers. For cats and dogs alike, ensure that no strings or pieces can be torn off, splintered, caught in teeth, or ingested.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of dental disease. Call your primary care veterinarian about particularly foul breath, excessive drooling, reluctance to eat, and swollen or inflamed gums.
Advanced Veterinary Dental Care Is Available at The COVE
Even with excellent at-home care, there may come a time when your family veterinarian recommends more advanced dental care for your pet. Fortunately, The COVE’s veterinary dentistry team, led by Colleen Fox, DVM, CSAVP Dentistry, has extensive experience and training in veterinary dentistry, using state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat a wide range of pet dental issues.
Dr. Fox is dedicated to educating pet parents about the importance of good oral health. She accepts patients via referral from primary care veterinarians. Please call 757-935-9111 for more information or to schedule an appointment.