February is Pet Dental Health Month, good timing since Valentine’s Day and fresh breath go hand in hand!
Pet Dental Health Month is a yearly reminder by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) that our pet’s teeth need the same care as ours do. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year to detect early problems. A veterinary dental cleaning is performed under anesthesia and includes x-rays, the cleaning, extractions if necessary, filing or repair of your pet’s teeth.
An unhealthy mouth leads to periodontal disease, which can be evident as early as three years old. Periodontal disease worsens as your pet gets older and can cause problems in the kidneys, liver and heart muscles.
If any of the following problems or signs are present in your pet in between cleanings, it is recommended to visit your veterinary:
- bad breath
- broken or loose teeth
- extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
- abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- pain in or around the mouth
- bleeding from the mouth
- swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
In between annual cleanings, you can keep your pet’s teeth clean and healthy by brushing at home. The AVMA has a handy video tutorial available on their website. If home brushing doesn’t work for you, some grooming facilities offer the service and many veterinarian offices offer monthly non-anesthetic dental services.