Dog Hygiene

February is Pet Dental Month

Dog getting teeth brushedFebruary is pet dental month so let’s keep those pearly whites white!    Our dogs are just like us when it comes to their teeth and they experience the same dental problems we do if we neglect our teeth, yet most dogs are in serious need of dental care and we don’t even know it.

I wrote a post a little while back about brushing a dog’s teeth because I know how important it is.  I’ve had dogs for a long time and for most of that time didn’t pay any attention to their dental care.  Just one trip to the pet store and you see all these great and wonderful treats of all shapes and sizes that say they will take care of plaque, act as your dog’s tooth brush, and even act as flossing.  Wow, with all of that out there why worry about their teeth when I can toss them on of these wonder treats.  Fact is, they do nothing.  If they did, we would be chewing those wonderful beef flavored treats too and never have to worry about our teeth.  Just have a read at the post I talked about earlier on brushing your dog’s teeth and you can see some stats on how many dogs have teeth and gum disease.  It’s astonishing and very expensive to treat.

Brushing your dog’s teeth is great for everyday at home dental care, but again, just like us our dogs require regular visits to the dentist for a regular and complete cleaning.

Your veterinarian should evaluate your pet’s teeth during its annual exam. Oral problems look exactly the same in your pet as they do in humans. Red and inflamed gums and gums that bleed easy are all signs of periodontal disease. If you notice blood on your pet’s toys or treats, that might be a good indicator of a problem.

Dental tartar is easily spotted. It can look like yellow, green, grey or brown gunk, growing on your pet’s teeth. It starts accumulating on the part of the tooth closest to the gum line and works its way down over the tooth. It is hard like the teeth and will not scrub off.

When looking at your pet’s teeth to evaluate the amount of dental tartar, make sure you look at the upper molars and premolars; they are the teeth that typically accrue tartar first and worst. Many people are under the belief that if tartar is present, they can just begin brushing the pet’s teeth and it will eventually brush right off. This is false. If tartar is visibly present, it will need to be scaled off. Discolored teeth may also be a sign of a problem. If teeth appear dark yellow, purple or blue in color, they might not have a healthy root.

Pets do a good job of hiding any problems they might be having eating or chewing. They usually adapt and take up a new way to do things before we even notice that there is a problem. They are also very good at hiding the pain of a toothache, you know the pain we can hardly stand.

Dental month makes us aware that our dogs need dental care too. A lot of veterinarians also run specials or have incentives during this month to encourage us to get on the right track in the care of our pet’s teeth.

Once your pet’s teeth are clean, that is the time to begin preventative care. Brushing your pets teeth, a prescription dog food for oral health, water additives, etc., can all be used on new pearly whites to maintain their bright, healthy whiteness for as long as possible.