It’s an integral part of your morning routine. Still half asleep, you step up to your bathroom sink and pick up your toothbrush. Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t make it a habit of providing good dental hygiene for their pets, too. Pet Dental Health Month, sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), is reminding pet owners that brushing their pet’s teeth can result in long-term savings.
“Good pet owners are concerned about their pets’ health and are careful to keep their vaccinations up to date, but may forget about the importance of oral health. Great owners know that this is a big mistake, as periodontal disease is the most common health problem that veterinarians find in pets,” explains Dr. Douglas Aspros, president of the AVMA. “Dental health problems are extremely common, and many are very painful and can lead to serious systemic conditions. I remind pet owners that an untreated dental infection can spread to the heart, kidneys and other organs, and suddenly become life threatening. Practicing good dental hygiene at home in addition to regular cleanings by your veterinarian is the most efficient and cost-effective way to extend your pet’s life, while keeping them comfortable and pain-free.”
“Correcting dental health problems can be expensive. If your veterinarian diagnoses your pet with tooth or gum disease, they may recommend that your pet’s teeth be professionally cleaned, x-rays may be called for, and it’s possible that a tooth or even multiple teeth may need to be extracted,” explains Dr. Brook A. Niemiec, a board certified veterinary dentist and president of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry. “Unfortunately, only about 1 percent of pet owners brush their pet’s teeth. Not only do more pet owners need to brush their pet’s teeth, but they should also use chew toys, treats and rawhides to help keep their pet’s teeth clean. There are a number of inexpensive and highly effective products available that can help keep your pet’s teeth clean between professional cleanings. If you have questions about the right products to use, consult your veterinarian.”