Most of us recognize the month of February for Valentine's Day, but did you know it is also Pet Dental Care Awareness Month? With that said, mark your calendars because it is time to brush up on some information about your pets' dental health! Many pet parents sometimes overlook their pets' oral care when it really is a very important aspect of their health. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association found that approximately 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show some signs of oral disease by the time they reach the age of three! They also mention that oral disease can contribute to serious health risks like dangerous infections of the vital organs.

With that in mind, the oral health of your pet is important to maintain and it is easier than you might think! Check out the following information about some simple steps to care for your pet and learn the signs and symptoms of dental disease!

Dental Care Tips

Brushing - Just as you would brush your own teeth on a daily basis, you should do the same for your pet! You can start an in-home regimen by brushing their teeth using pet toothbrushes and toothpastes that are safe for dogs and cats. It may take some time for your pet to get used to it, but, if you praise and reward them, it will become an easy to-do task. Plus, regular brushing helps reduce plaque and tartar build up.

Dental Exam – You should schedule a dental exam for your pet at least once a year; a veterinarian can provide your pet with a full dental examination to inspect their teeth and gums.

Oral Chews – You can help your pet remove plaque and food debris from their teeth with oral chews that are specifically designed to be nutritious and promote good oral health. Be sure to add oral chews to your list of dog or cat supplies so you can give them a treat that serves two purposes!

Toys & Rawhide Chews – Some other ways that you can help your pet maintain good oral health is through the use of chew toys and rawhide chews that have mild abrasive action to help wipe away thin layers of buildup on their teeth.

Signs of Dental Disease

In order to prevent dental disease, you have to make sure you apply the above care tips to your pet's health routine. You also need to know the signs and symptoms of dental disease to act quickly if you suspect a dental health issue.

Here are some common indicators of an oral health problem:

  • Bad breath
  • Discolored teeth, loose teeth or teeth covered in tartar
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Your pet isn't comfortable when you touch around their mouth area
  • Excessive drooling or the dropping of food from their mouth

If your pet has any of these dental disease indicators, you should schedule a veterinary exam right away.

You are now ready to maintain your pet’s oral health to help them enjoy a long and happy life!