February is officially here, which means that in addition to Valentine’s and Presidents’ Day, it’s also Pet Dental Health Awareness Month. While everyone knows that they should personally floss more often, it’s easy to forget just how important dental health is for dogs. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80% of dogs show signs of oral disease by the age of three.
Since everyone wants their beloved pets to be healthy and happy for as long as possible, dental health is something to take very seriously. Given that only 14% of dogs receive dental care at the vet’s office, it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of room for improvement. So with that goal in mind, Dog Day Every Day wants to cover some of the things you can do to help your dog maximize its dental health:
Understand the Signs of Dental Disease
Taking care of your dog starts by understanding the signs that there’s something which needs to be addressed. Bad breath, loose or discolored teeth, teeth covered in tartar, drooling, dropping food from the mouth or your dog not being comfortable with having its mouth touched are all potential signs of dental disease. Bleeding from the mouth, loss of appetite or loss of weight are often signs of more serious oral health problems.
Take Your Dog for a Dental Exam
Even if you haven’t noticed any of the signs covered above, it’s still a good idea to take your dog for an annual dental exam. Giving a vet an opportunity to look in your dog’s mouth will ensure that any potential issues are noticed so that they can be properly addressed.
Start Brushing and Chewing
While it’s important to have a medical professional check out your dog’s teeth, gums and mouth, you can make the biggest impact by committing to a consistent brushing schedule. If you have any questions about how often you should brush (once a week is the rule of thumb but can vary), what type of toothpaste to use or the best dental chews to give your dog, don’t hesitate to ask your vet for guidance.
Schedule Dental Cleanings
When you visit the dentist, they’re always able to clean your teeth despite the fact that you brush at least twice a day. The same is true for dogs. In addition to consistent brushing at home, it’s important to schedule dental cleanings on a regular basis so that your dog's mouth can be completely cleaned out and prevent any issues with tartar build-up.
By putting these dental health habits into practice for your dog during February and then continuing to make them a priority throughout 2016, you can ensure that your dog has the healthiest year possible!