February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Just like us, our pets can suffer from a variety of dental issues, including plaque build-up and periodontal disease (infected gums). If not treated quickly, infections can spread to your pet’s organs and become life-threatening. As with most other health conditions, the best cure is prevention. Here are 10 ways to celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month. The first is finding a pet dentist to keep your pet’s teeth and gums in sparkling clean and healthy condition.
“Find a Pet Dentist” and 9 Other Ways to Celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month
Make a dental appointment for your pet with your pet dentist
Eighty percent of all dogs will be affected by dental disease by age two. One of the most important things you can do is make an appointment with your veterinarian for a dental checkup for your dog and other pets. Because February is National Pet Dental Health Month, many vet offices offer discounted exams and cleanings during the month of February.
Commit to brushing his teeth every day
In addition to making that pet dentist appointment, why not commit to brushing your pet’s teeth every day? It may be difficult at first, but just like anything else, once it becomes habit, it will be no big deal.
Take him to the pet store to get a toothbrush and toothpaste
Most pets really enjoy a trip to the pet store. What’s not to like? There are lots of other pets, people to make a fuss over him, and even treats at the checkout counter.
Buy him a new toy
Especially for dogs, there are toys on the market specifically designed to help keep your pet’s teeth clear of plaque and tartar build-up. Many have deep, flexible ridges that massage the gums and remove plaque.
Break out the pet mouthwash
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria. Using a mouthwash that contains Oxygene or grapefruit seed extract helps kill those bacteria and prohibits the build-up of tartar and plaque. Some varieties can be sprayed directly onto the teeth and gums, while others are added to your pet’s water dish. Do not use human mouthwash, however, as it often contains ingredients that can be toxic to your pets.
Change his treats
Add an occasional dental treat to your pet’s diet regimen. These treats work in much the same way as the dental toys described earlier, and often have additives to help control bacteria as well.
Switch to dry food
Although canned or moist pet food is just as nutritious as dry food, it can cause dental issues. Chewing dry food actually helps rid the teeth of plaque and thus, acts as a dental disease preventative. Canned food is more likely to get stuck in nooks and crannies and can accelerate plaque build-up, tooth decay and periodontal disease. Your pet dentist can tell you if your pet’s food is causing him dental issues.
Switch to a larger bite of dry food
In addition to dry food being better for your pet’s dental health than canned, a bigger piece of dry food can help as well. WebMD.com reports that increasing the diameter of dry food by 50 percent can lead to a 42 percent reduction in tartar.
Switch to a specialized dental diet
Some breeds and species of pets are more prone to dental disease than others. For them it may help to switch them over to a dry food specially formulated to help prevent dental disease. The same report on WebMD.com states, “… coating the products with a substance called polyphosphate further reduced tartar by 55%. It prevents plaque from turning into tartar by isolating calcium on teeth.”
spread the word about your pet dentist & national pet dental health month
Use your Facebook page or Twitter account to remind others about National Pet Dental Health Month, too. Post a picture of your pet’s beautiful smile or share an article that reminds others of the importance of good dental hygiene for their pets.
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