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Open Wide!
by Landess Witmer - PetFolio Publisher
Feb 10, 2012 | 1758 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Courtesy Illustration/Turi Everett
Courtesy Illustration/Turi Everett

RENO — Give your pets something to truly smile about by making their dental health a priority. A good pet dental hygiene routine is essential to the long and healthy life of your dog or cat. Just as proper pet nutrition and exercise are important for your animal, so is proper oral care.

Here are the top four things you and your animal need you to know about dental health.

1. February is Pet Dental Health Month: Sponsored by the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) and the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), this is the time to concentrate on your pet’s mouth. Regular care and dental needs for dogs and cats is important all year round. But during this month, you might notice new dental products in your favorite pet stores. Ask your veterinarian or dog trainer for recommendations.

2. You can add two years to your pet’s life: By concentrating on routine oral hygiene, you can help them live longer. If left untreated, dental disease in cats and dogs has been proven to cause early death. Nationally, 85 percent of all adult pets suffer from dental disease. Bacteria from gingivitis and periodontal disease can spread throughout the rest of your pet’s body, infecting the heart and kidneys.

3. Bad breath is very bad: This is the most common sign of your pet’s gum disease. Your pet can be in pain from irritated gums, which can lead to appetite loss. The first step to beating gum disease in your animal is to not indulge your pet’s sweet tooth with sugary snacks that can encourage bacterial growth and tooth decay.

4. Get yearly veterinary dental checkups help pets: There is no substitute for professional dental cleanings. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet’s teeth in a more thorough manner than you. By 6 months of age, your dog or cat has his or her permanent teeth — 42 in a dog and 30 in a cat. Between annual visits to the veterinarian, you can give your pet good dental chews and appropriate treats to help keep plaque and tartar away. You can also teach your pet to allow you to administer routine teeth cleanings (two to three times a week) with an appropriate toothbrush, or a soft human tooth brush, but never human toothpaste.

Read more about animals and pet events in, “A World Unleashed,” at

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Open Wide! by Landess Witmer - PetFolio Publisher

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