February is National Pet Dental Health Month

February 6, 2018 at 2:00 PM by Nikki Wardle

Pet Dental Health Month

Did you know that the most common health problem for dogs and cats is periodontal disease? Sadly, few pet owners are aware of the damage inconsistent dental care can do to their dog or cat’s health, meaning that only around 1% of owners brush their pet’s teeth. This leads to a whole host of issues related to dental problems, including periodontal disease, which shows up in around 80% of dogs and 70% of cats.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, so we’re using this month to educate pet owners about the dangers of periodontal disease, as well as what you can do to keep your cat or dog healthy. Here’s how you can recommit to your pet’s health in February, starting with their teeth.

How to Keep Your Dog or Cat’s Teeth Healthy

Dental issues in cats and dogs can drastically reduce your furry friend’s quality of life, particularly when it causes additional problems and pain. Dental problems invariably cause pain that can lead to difficulty eating and far worse down the road.

Prevention First

The best course of action for your pet’s dental health is to start with prevention. Just like in humans, daily brushing and routine oral exams are an absolute must to maintain dental health. If you’re not sure where to start, call your vet to learn how to brush your cat or dog’s teeth. This should be done daily and thoroughly, which also gives you a chance to look out for the signs of dental disease.

Watch for Periodontal Disease Warnings Signs

As a pet owner, you’ll be the first to know when your dog or cat is suffering from painful dental disease. Watch closely for these symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, bleeding, swollen gums
  • Excessive tartar buildup
  • Drooling
  • Lack of appetite, chewing tenderly, or avoiding food

Feed a Healthy Diet

Malnutrition can contribute to your pet’s dental issues. Make sure you’re feeding your dog or cat only high-quality food, and offer dental-friendly treats on occasion to help keep up with oral hygiene.

Don’t Skip Annual Exams

Your pet’s yearly checkup is crucial to their overall health, including oral health. Your veterinarian will do a thorough examination of your pet’s mouth and teeth when they come in for a regular visit. While an annual cleaning may not be necessary every year, your veterinarian will go over a home dental care plan.  Or if an cleaning is necessary, your veterinarian will line out exactly what the cleaning covers as well as a home dental care plan.

This February, start adding daily habits that will improve your pet’s dental health. Schedule your dog or cat’s yearly annual dental exam (and possible cleaning), educate yourself about the warning signs of dental disease, and check that your pet’s diet is teeth-friendly. National Pet Dental Health Month is the perfect time to make sure your pet is getting the best dental care possible. For more information about how you can improve your pet’s dental health, contact us today.

Topics: Pet Dental Health

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.