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Your Dog Could Use A Toothbrush

Gary Gerschoff, Getty Images

I would bet the kennel that you did not know that February is Canine Dental Health Month and that’s the problem.  Too few people realize that their pets need to have their teeth cleaned twice a year just like people should.

According to Dr. Robert Reich of the Animal Medical Clinic of Quincy, “If your six year old pet has never had its teeth cleaned, that’s like a person waiting until age 42 before having a first dental cleaning.” According to Dr. Reich, your pet accumulates plaque and develops dental calculus five times faster than people do. Most dogs and cats show signs of gingival disease by the time they are three years old.

Bad breath is one consequence, but is not the only one. With periodontal disease, your pet experiences pain, just as people can. In addition, his or her bloodstream is showered with bacteria from its mouth, potentially causing problems with the heart, kidneys and liver.

Fortunately, according to Dr. Reich, there are easy steps a pet owner can follow to prevent tartar build up; following these steps can make a dramatic difference in helping one’s pet live a longer, healthier life:

  • establish a regular dental cleaning schedule for your pet which includes both at-home and professional cleaning. At-home products include brushing with a pet toothbrush and toothpaste as well as and no-brush maintenance systems which may be used several times a week. “We recommend beginning the at-home schedule at as early an age as possible,” says Dr.Reich. “There is no minimum age. Begin with your dog as a puppy if possible.” he adds.
  • regularly supply your pet with dental chews and treats, both of which are specifically designed to reduce tartar build up
  • consider choosing food such as Hills Prescription T/D food or Healthy Advantage which are designed to reduce tartar build up every time your pet eats
  • consider special food additives that may be added to your pet’s diet to aid in tartar removal.

Tomorrow is February 1, so pet owners need to contact their veterinarian and make an appointment for their pet. Your pet will thank you for it.


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