February is Pet Dental Health Month!
Every so often, a client will express a degree of surprise when I recommend routine dental cleanings, and home dental care for their pets. Folks my age, give or take a decade, were taught from a young age that while “doggie breath” was unpleasant, it was normal. Many of us (including me!) were even told “a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s.” While much of the folklore with which we grew up has withstood the tests of both time and science, we now know that dental disease is a genuine threat to the overall health of our pets. The good news, however, is that it’s easily preventable.
Like their human counterparts, dogs and cats should receive regular, professional dental cleanings. The frequency of these cleanings will vary depending the pet’s species, breed, diet, and certain genetic factors. Home dental care can reduce the buildup of tartar and dental plaque, and decrease the number of professional cleanings needed. Untreated dental disease can lead to cardiac problems, kidney failure, and systemic infections. Ask your veterinarian what his or her recommendations may be for for keeping Fluffy’s teeth healthy and strong. Like many other aspects of pet health care, an ounce of dental disease prevention is often worth a pound of cure.