February is canine oral health month and the perfect time to discuss that good oral health is important to a pet’s overall wellness. Unfortunately, for many consumers, it often falls well below bone, joint and skin care on their priority list.
However, studies have shown that between 75 and 80 percent of dogs have some periodontal diseases by the time they turn 2-years-old, leading to increased veterinary visits and, in many cases, costly treatments. If a pet’s teeth and gums are neglected, plaque and tarter can accumulate, which can cause more serious conditions that can affect the animal’s heart, liver or lungs.
Dogs with teeth and gum issues may have chronic bad breath, or loss of interest in eating or chewing on their toys. Cats may drool excessively or neglect their grooming habits. Older pets are particularly prone to oral problems, such as gingivitis, inflamed gums or loose or broken teeth.
Early and often
The key to maintaining good oral health during a pet’s lifetime is to start early and use various methods. Start brushing your puppy’s teeth when they are only a few weeks old. Put some toothpaste on your finger and put it in their mouths to get them familiar with having something in their mouth.
There are many devices and products to help keep your dog’s teeth and gums in good shape. From paste to many chews, there are plenty of products available for your dog and cat. Beside being effective, the product should be palatable. If it is not appealing, the dog won’t eat it, and it will do no good.
Check with your local pet retailer to find what is best for your dog.