Pet Dental Care Often Neglected

Vet association reminds you to brush dogs’ teeth during National Pet Dental Health Month.

Posted: February 17, 2011, 2 a.m. EST

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ChihuahuaHave you looked in your dog’s mouth lately? Chances are it’s not pretty.

“It’s estimated that by the age of two 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease,” says Larry Kornegay, DVM, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Unhealthy teeth don’t just look bad. They’re linked to serious disease.

Periodontal infections have been linked to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and other life threatening disorders,” Kornegay says.

During February’s Pet Dental Health Month, the AVMA is reminding all pet owners to care for their pets’ teeth like they do their own.

“One of the biggest hurdles in pet dental health in this country is the realization that problems exist in dog and cats’ mouths,” says Jan Bellows, D.V.M., a veterinary dentist from Weston, Fla., and incoming president of the American Veterinary Dental College. “Many pet owners simply don’t know they should be doing more to prevent periodontal disease. Not only is periodontal disease a common problem in people, it is the most commonly diagnosed problem in dogs and cats. If untreated, it can develop into more serious medical conditions.”

Not sure how to care for your dog’s teeth? Check out a step-by-step slide show on how to brush your dog’s teeth.

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