Brush Up on Oral Health During National Pet Dental Health Month

CHICOPEE — When is the last time you checked Fido’s pearly, or not so pearly, whites? Many pet owners do not realize how important oral care is for their pets nor think it is a priority, say the animal-care experts at the Good Dog Spot in Chicopee. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, which brings to light the importance of caring for your pet’s oral health.

For example, bad breath can be a sign of serious health problems for a dog. According to the American Veterinary Medical Assoc., 80{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of dogs and 70{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3. Along with bad breath, signs of dental disease can include loose or discolored teeth, teeth covered in tartar, drooling, bleeding from the mouth, dropping food from the mouth, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Good dental health is just as important for pets as it is for humans. Poor dental health can lead to serious health problems, such as heart, lung, and kidney disease.

Here are a few simple tips to better your pet’s dental care:

• Take your fuzzy friend to get a dental exam. Pets should have a routine vet examination, including a teeth and gum exam, at least once a year.

• Start an at-home regimen to maintain clean teeth in between vet visits. Whether it’s brushing their teeth, providing dental treats or chews, or serving them specially formulated food proven to remove plaque and tartar, you should get on a schedule to help improve their dental health.

• Start early. It’s always best to start dental care with a puppy because not all dogs respond quickly to an at-home dental program.

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