In an effort to raise public awareness about the oral health of our pets, February has been designated as “Pet Dental Health Month” by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). While it may seem “normal” for our pets to have “doggy breath,” odor originating from an animal’s mouth is as abnormal as odor from our own mouths.
Take a minute to look into your pet’s mouth. You should see white, smooth, shiny teeth not loose teeth, broken teeth or teeth covered with plaque. Just like we clean our teeth through brushing and flossing, our pets benefit from these same habits and rely on us to care for their oral hygiene.
Dental care has three specific areas of interest – what happens above the gums; what happens below the gums and what happens within the pet’s body. A quality dental cleaning addresses all of these concerns. It requires anesthesia to thoroughly clean both under the gums as well as to check for solid, strong tooth roots.
Poor dental hygiene can lead to problems that may appear to be unrelated to dental health. The most common problems are heart disease due to long-term infection as well as changes within the liver. Proper cleaning lessens the risk of developing these secondary changes and should be a part of your pet’s routine health care.