The month of February has been set aside as National Pet Dental Health Month. And while the majority of humans don’t consider a trip to the dentist to be one of their top 10 most favorite things to do, it’s no secret that regular dental checkups are essential to maintain overall good health. It’s equally just as important for pet parents to provide regular dental care for their pets.

According to studies made by the American Animal Hospital Association,  (AHHA) sadly, 85 percent of dogs and cats over the age of 3 years have already suffered dental or gum disease. Without regular dental care and cleaning, pets can develop gingivitis, (an often painful inflammation of the gums) from the bacterial laden plaque which, if not taken care of on a regular basis, develops into tarter or calculus.

The AAHA studies also found that two-thirds of pet guardians do not provide the regular dental care recommended by veterinarians. 

Board president of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry and certified veterinary dentist, Dr. Brook A. Niemiec said, “Unfortunately, only about one percent of pet owners brush their pet’s teeth. Not only do more pet owners need to brush their pet’s teeth, they should also use chew toys, treats and rawhides to help keep their pet’s teeth clean.”

Dr. Douglas Aspros, President of the AVMA said, “Dental problems are extremely common, and many are very painful and can lead to serious systemic conditions”. He reminds pet guardians that, “an untreated dental infection can spread to the heart, kidneys and other organs, and suddenly become life threatening.”

Now that both boys are older – I am trying to be more diligent in the area of dental hygiene, although I must be honest and admit, I am not “always” consistent.

Unlike children – who – once they became a certain age – would either:

  • willingly take on the routine of dental hygiene themselves (I had one of them), or
  • do it, once scolded for forgetting (had one of them too!)

I will have to do “better” in remembering with the boys – this is my job!

Harley’s teeth are in a little better shape than Leo’s, although there is still room for improvement which equates to more attention on my part. I’m striving for that little “twinkle” when they open their mouths, like in the toothpaste commercials!
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Right now I am using a clean teeth gel by Tropiclean (you rub it on their gums at night) however, with their vet’s recommendation I have ordered Oxyfresh – an oral hygiene solution that goes into their water and is supposed to freshen their breath and help reduce the formation of plaque and tartar.

With this being Pet Dental Health month I thought I would document our teeth progress by taking a photo now and then post “before and after shots” thirty days after my “public” pledge to not miss a day with their new hygiene regimen.

Learn the symptoms of pet dental disease which many are hard to ignore. One of the first signs of gum disease is unrelenting bad breath. Additionally, pets may exhibit: difficulty in eating, pawing at their mouth, gums that are sore and red gums, and tooth discoloration caused by tarter.

In order to celebrate Pet Dental Health Month, many veterinary practices are offering a special discount for their pet’s oral care.

Sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association

What do you do to care for your pet’s teeth? Please share with helpful tips for me and others…

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