February 8, 2012 by Linda Ford
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has designated February as Pet Dentistry Month. You may see promotions on TV and printed media. This is designed to help people become more aware of their pets’ oral health.
Hardly anyone brushes the teeth of their pets on a regular basis. Back when dogs and cats ate real food (birds, rats, deer bone, etc), you hardly saw much dental disease. I can tell an outside, free roaming dog by his beautiful teeth. They may be worn down a bit from chewing on bones and hides but there’s absolutely no tartar or gingivitis.
Now days, pets mostly eat pet food and table food. I am highly critical of pet food manufacturers not only for the oral disease these products create but all the other problems they cause as well. I believe commercial pet foods are also responsible for creating obesity, diabetes and on and on. Corn cannot be digested by dogs and cats and sets them up for a variety of ailments including dental disease. See how many pet foods you can find that don’t contain corn or wheat gluten from China.
Since you can’t rely on Purina and Hill’s Science Diet to create pet foods to protect your pets oral health, you’re going to have to do it yourself. So, brush once daily with a tooth brush and paste beginning when your pet is a juvenile. Do this to all of your pets. Not up for that (or down with that), whatever they say now? There are a number of products that can aid in dental care.
The best of these are those greasy cow knuckles and pigs ears they sell at Halbert’s. Most people don’t want those on their carpet, though. You can try Nylabones, Greenies, enzyme impregnated raw hides, etc. etc. Petsmart and Petco have a plethora of products I’m sure you’ve seen.
The quickest way to tell if your pet has dental disease is to smell his breath. Just as easy, you can lift up the lips and visually examine the teeth yourself. If you see brown stuff where white should be, he has dental disease. It’s time to clean.
When the vet cleans your pet’s teeth, she has to do it under sedation in order not to get bitten and to do a good job. Most vet hospitals run specials on dental procedures during the month of February.
So, if you think your pet needs its teeth to be cleaned and checked for periodontal disease, this is the most economical month to have it done.