Friday, February 22, 2013


Did you know that February is National Pet Dental Health Month? I didn't, at least not until earlier this week. I obviously can't keep track of all these 'special' month meanings that are supposed to draw your attention to serious issues :). New ones pop up all the time and I'm apparently not 'in-the-know'. But, now I do know and unfortunately I am one of those owners that don't brush their dog's teeth. Sorry, it just ain't going to happen at my house. I don't have time to scrub 210 teeth (damn that's a lot of teeth when you think about it!!) on a regular basis. However, with that said, I do try to monitor my dogs' oral health as best as I can by looking at their teeth, smelling their breath (when they give me kisses!), and checking their gums.

Look Ma, No Cavities!

All dogs are born with 42 teeth, no matter the breed, they all start out with that many. Several breeds are prone to tooth loss though so they might not have that many when you look into their mouth as they are maturing. If your dog is missing teeth, you should keep a list of which ones are missing (and when they approximately lost them and why) so that you can keep good records of your pet's oral health.

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 85 percent of dogs and cats show signs of oral disease by age four. Oral disease can lead to serious consequences for pets, including infection, severe pain, and even organ damage. Personally, I think a lot of the oral disease problems stem from what we are feeding (or not feeding!) our dogs. I mean seriously, do you think people brushed their dogs back in the day?!? Old timers would laugh at such foolishness :). But if you are feeding a commercial kibble diet (even a high quality one) regular oral health maintenance and check-ups can help to avoid most of the oral disease problems. 

Things pet parents should check for:
  • Bad breath
  • Tartar buildup
  • Swollen, receding, or bleeding gums
  • Fractured or abscessed teeth
  • Change in eating habits

Kill the Germs, Feel the Clean.

Check out this video <CLICK HERE> from the AVMA that features Dr. Sheldon Rubin giving easy, step-by-step instructions on how to teach a dog or cat to accept a tooth brushing. He also describes healthy treats and explains the risks of periodontal disease in pets.

The National Pet Dental Health Month ad from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Do you brush your dog's teeth? Tell me about your experiences - good, bad, and hilarious!

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