February is National Pet Dental Health Month


Many pet owners who otherwise take excellent care of their dog or cat overlook the importance of good oral health. In fact, regular dental care and check-ups are so important that the American Veterinary Medical Association has designated February as National Pet Dental Health Month. That is because approximately 70 percent of cats and 80 percent of dogs develop periodontal disease by age three. Left untreated, periodontal disease can cause loss of teeth as well as spread infection to other parts of the body.

How to Prevent Periodontal Disease in Pets 
Keeping your pet’s teeth, gums, and mouth healthy starts with feeding her nutritious food. The food should be appropriate to her species and contain adequate meat and protein with little or no fillers. If you’re unsure of how to read a pet food label or choose the most nutritious food for your pet, be sure to ask our staff for a recommendation. We are happy to help.

If you have a dog, giving him a daily dental chew can help keep plaque and tartar at bay. However, you shouldn’t consider this a substitute for regular brushing. Both dogs and cats benefit when you commit to brushing their teeth daily or at least several times per week if that isn’t possible. Although this may seem like an impossible task, you might be surprised at how quickly your pet accepts it as part of the daily routine with encouragement from you. These instructional videos on how to brush your dog or cat’s teeth are helpful if you have never attempted to do it in the past. 

In addition to regular brushing at home, we encourage you to request a dental appointment at Cedar Pet Clinic in Lake Elmo, Minnesota at least once a year during your pets annual examination. We are also offering a free dental consultation during the month of February. If you have any concerns about your pet's breath or teeth, don't hesitate to call and make this appointment. This gives us the opportunity to detect and treat problems as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Oral Health Problems 
Despite your precautions, your pet may still develop an oral infection or another type of dental problem. It’s important to observe his behavior every day as well as inspect his teeth and gums regularly. If you notice any of the following, please contact us right away:

• Bad breath
• Excess drooling
• Reluctance to eat due to mouth pain
• Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
• Plaque and tartar deposits on teeth that are yellow or brown in color

Our veterinarians will determine the cause of your pet’s oral health problem and treat it accordingly. If you don’t already have a dental care routine established, National Pet Dental Health Month is a great time to start.

 Image credit:  wckiw | iStock Photo

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