Your Dog Needs Dental Care, Too

Proper dental care includes regular check-ups and at-home maintenance.

Posted: February 5, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

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Many pet owners don’t realize the role they play in maintaining their pet’s oral health. Many also don’t know that effective plaque control can prevent a large percentage of pet periodontitis cases.

To help spread the word, National Pet Dental Health Month is observed each February to educate pet owners on the importance of routine pet dental check-ups and ways to maintain their pet’s dental health at home.

These options include frequent brushing, routinely checking a pet’s teeth and gums, and feeding them a specialized diet.

“Dental disease is the number one diagnosed disease in our patients. When pet owners begin the road to proper oral health care, dental problems can be identified and corrected, making life healthier for the pet and happier for the pet owner,” said Brook Niemiec, D.V.M., DAVDC, FAVD, of Dog Beach Dentistry.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, it’s estimated that more than 80 percent of dogs over the age of four show signs of oral disease, often indicated by bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and mouth, and depression.

If inflammation of the gum is left untreated, the bone around the roots of teeth can begin to deteriorate, and as the bone tissue is destroyed, teeth may become loose or fall out. Eventually, the infection can cause receding gums and tooth loss and may enter the bloodstream, potentially affecting the heart, liver, and kidneys.

“Oral care is all about in-clinic treatment coupled with pet owners taking an active role to provide daily oral hygiene for their pets at home,” said Patricia Dominguez, LVT at Shaker Veterinary Hospital, P.C.

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