Just like humans, animals need their teeth cleaned too. Each year, February is designated as “Pet Dental Health Month.” The American Veterinary Medical Society and The American Veterinary Dental Society join together to raise awareness about Periodontal Disease and the correct way to care for an animal’s oral health. Proper pet dental care begins with a trip to the veterinarian office for a simple dental exam and cleaning. The procedure is similar to what we go through at the dentist. The animal is first put under anesthesia so they don’t get stressed. Then, it’s a simple flushing of the mouth, chipping off the tarter, a fluoride treatment and a finishing spritz of breath freshener.
“The owners really like that because they go home with good smelling breathe,” said Allison Nolen, Veterinarian Assistant at the Naperville Animal Hospital. “Of course the mouth always smells better after cleaning.”
Redness in the mouth, swollen gums, and bad breath are all signs that there might be something wrong with your animal. If pet owners aren’t careful, their four-legged friend can get Periodontal Disease, which is diagnosed, in 85% of pets by the time they are four years old.
“When an animal gets Periodontal Disease they basically have bacteria that is effecting that bone,” said Dr. Tom Staudacher, Veterinarian at the Naperville Animal Hospital. “The bacteria in a sense is kind of chewing at that bone and chewing at the roots of the teeth so that’s what’s causing the inflammation.”
It’s recommended to get your pet’s teeth checked each year, because the bacteria that cause Periodontal Disease can lead to other issues in pets if it goes untreated.
“On top of taking care of the oral health you’re also taking care of the kidney’s, the liver and the heart valves which are common places for that bacteria to attack,” said Dr. Staudacher.
Owners can take preventative steps at home too.
“I have a dog chance, and I try to brush his teeth,” said Mary Alice Vanderby, a Naperville resident. “He doesn’t like it but I try to brush them about once a week.”
Pet owners can get their furry friends used to this at a young age by using a toothbrush and some special doggie toothpaste.
“I just have a regular toothbrush and he sit’s down nice for me and I just hold his upper lip up and I do each side, and then he gets a treat afterwards,” said Vanderby.
Regular cleanings and vet check ups will not only give sparkling fresh breath but a healthy life for your companion.
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