Thursday, February 21, 2013

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

 Admit it.  You leaned over to give your dog  a big kiss and ARRGGH…..bad breath !   Not only Is bad breath unpleasant, but it could also signal the presence of a more serious problem .  More than 85% of dogs and cats over the age of four show signs of oral disease.  The problem starts when bacteria builds up on the teeth and begins to form plaque and tartar, the precursors to gingivitis and periodontal disease. Left untreated, periodontal disease  can contribute to tooth loss and more systemic  health complications if the bacteria travels to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and nervous system.  To screen for dental problems, check  your dog’s mouth for bad breath, tartar build up, decaying teeth, or gums that are swollen, bleeding , receding or abscessed.  A yearly vet visit will help keep your dog’s teeth and gums in check.  Your vet may recommend a cleaning under anesthesia at a certain age as tartar begins to build up with age.  You can help delay dental problems by brushing your dog’s teeth with a  commercial toothpaste 3 times per week.  It’s best to start brushing his teeth in the puppy stage so he gets used to brushing as a normal part of life just like nail trims and brushing out his coat.  With an older dog, start by choosing a toothpaste made just for dogs that is both palatable and digestible.  Start by having him smell the toothpaste and eventually lick the toothpaste.  Gradually work toward having the dog let you put the toothbrush in his mouth for a short period of time.  It’s important that the dog does not feel anxious and restrained so you should attempt to pair the toothbrushing with a positive experience like a special treat or a massage.   Now is the time to start maintaining that great doggie smile !
Lisa Beals, Co-Owner
Camp Bow Wow Carmel

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