February is Pet Dental Health Month

Dog health, cat health and generally, our pet's health is very important but often overlooked or forgotten in this busy times of economic struggle. This is why February is the time for our pet's dental health because just like their owners, they need the dental attention too. It is a known fact that eighty percent of dogs and seventy percent of cats show signs of oral disease as early as age three and dental health doesn't just affect the mouth. It may actually lead to more serious health problems such as heart, lungs and kidney disease. We definitely wouldn't want that to happen to our precious babies. So let’s look at what you can do and try to break it down so that you would know how to go about the task.

One very serious disease is called the Periodontal Disease. It is an infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth that can take hold during the progressive stages. It starts out as mere plaque and eventually, as the bacteria in the plaque dies, it becomes calcified by the calcium found in saliva. It now becomes tartar and invites more plaque and will lead to gingivitis which causes the gums to swell and bleed. If left untreated, it can spread around the root of the tooth. Finally, the surrounding tissues are destroyed and the bone socket holding the tooth erodes and the tooth becomes loose. This is very painful for your canine friend but luckily, it can be prevented by gaining information on your dog's health as well as other pets.

The two critical components of your pet's dental care are oral examinations and dental cleanings. It is highly recommended that you have your pet checked early because then, as your pet ages, your veterinarian will look for developmental anomalies, the accumulation of plaque and tartar, periodontal disease and oral tumors. Basic oral examinations can be performed while the patient is awake but anesthetics may be required for a more thorough and complete examination as well as the cleaning itself. It is also recommended by the AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) that general anesthesia should be used for oral examinations as well as dental cleanings for all cats and dogs. Furthermore, these procedures should be done at least annually at one year of age for cats and small breed dogs and at two years of age for large breed dogs. This is not much to do for our pet's sake knowing that you would do anything for you cat's or dog's health any day.

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