National Pet Dental Health month coincides with Heart Health Month as poor dental health can lead to heart disease in pets. Bacterium that resides in plaque-ridden teeth and gums can enter the bloodstream and cause damage to vital organs such as the heart, kidney, and liver. Because this is a serious matter, many vets offer discounts in February to assist with what could be a costly endeavor to you if not maintained on a regular basis.
PedMD states that “by the age of three, over 80 percent of dogs have some form of dental disease”₁ and the RSPCA repeats those same statistics for cats over the age of three ₂. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, an annual check up is recommended unless you observe any of the following signs of dental problems, in which case they should be seen by their veterinarian or veterinary dentist. Bad breath; broken, loose or extra teeth; abnormal chewing, drooling or dropping food; swelling or bleeding in the mouth; reduced appetite or refusal to eat, are among the signs that a dental problem may exist with your cat or dog ₃.
Human assistance will be needed to maintain your pet’s mouth health. Brushing your pet’s teeth a few times a week can make the difference in their health and your wallet. For your feline family member, in addition to regular brushing, your vet can recommend specific treats, mouth washes and gels, or water additives ₄. Need help brushing your cat’s teeth? Check out the Purina site for tips. For the K-9 in your life, PetMD recommends Nylabone dental chew toys for their durability and design to clean your dog’s teeth ₁. Want to check out more products for cats and dogs? Go to New York magazine and read their recommended list of chews, teeth care products, and dental foods.
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