February is National Pet Dental Health Month
Many dogs as young as age 3 already show some form of oral disease such as tooth decay or bleeding gums. If left untreated, bacteria from the teeth and gums can spread through the bloodstream to the heart, liver and kidneys causing serious health problems.
Look for signs of possible oral disease:
- Bad breath
- Yellow-brown crust around the gum line
- Bleeding gums
- Pain when eating
- Pawing at the mouth
- Change of chewing or eating habits
- Tooth loss
- Subdued behavior
- Excessive dribbling
Prevention is the best medicine! Brush your dog’s teeth daily with a toothpaste and toothbrush designed especially for dogs (human toothpaste could upset your dog’s stomach). Begin by holding your dog gently and brushing in short sessions until your dog gets used to the procedure. You may want to brush without toothpaste at first, then introduce it slowly.
Feed your dog specially formulated foods that help reduce the accumulation of plaque and tartar from teeth.
Most importantly, schedule veterinary dental check-ups regularly especially if any of the signs of oral disease are present.