It is the middle of February already, which means its also the middle of “National Pet Dental Health Care Month.”
The California Veterinary Medical Association says all pets are at risk for developing dental problems, so it is important for owners to have their pets examined by a veterinarian annually to detect problems early. It also is important for owners to check their pets often between visits for these warning signs:
— Bad breath
— Tartar buildup on the teeth
— Swollen, receding or bleeding gums
— Fractured or abscessed teeth
— Change in eating habits
A pet should be taken to a veterinarian immediately if it shows any of the above symptoms.
The CVMA further recommends these simple steps to ensure proper pet dental health care:
Step 1. Visit a veterinarian at least once a year. – The veterinarian will examine a pet’s teeth and gums. Recommendations may be made for cleaning, polishing and other dental care in the hospital and a program of home dental care.
Step 2. Professional dental care. – If a pet already shows evidence of periodontal disease, a professional cleaning is in order. Depending on the pet’s age and physical condition, the doctor may recommend blood analyses, radiography or other diagnostic tests to evaluate the heart, liver and kidneys for coexisting disease before proceeding with general anesthesia.
Once a pet is anesthetized, accumulated tartar and calculus are removed by ultrasonic and hand scaling. Radiographs are taken to identify teeth needing fillings or root canals that can be repaired, and teeth that are beyond repair can be extracted. Finally, the teeth are polished to slow down formation of new plaque, tartar and calculus.
Step 3. Dental care at home. – Regular brushing is critical to any preventive dental program. A special toothbrush and toothpaste for pets are recommended.
Feeding pets a dental diet with the VOHC seal may help prevent accumulation of plaque, tartar and calculus. Consult a veterinarian regarding the best diet for your pet.
Step 4. Return to a veterinarian for regular dental checkups every six to 18 months or as recommended by your veterinarian.
The CVMA urges all pet owners during “National Pet Dental Health Care Month” to review their pet’s dental care and take the necessary steps to ensure their pet has healthy teeth and gums.
And we encourage you to protect your pet’s smile.
A great smile is makes for a great custom portrait!