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February is Dental Month

5 Ways to Keep Your Pet's Teeth and Gums Healthy for Life







Here are five steps to help your pet's teeth and gums remain healthy:

1. Beware of Bad Breath


Cat with mouth wide open

If a musky scent is coming from Fluffy's mouth, don't ignore it. This could be a warning sign that she has periodontal disease or another oral disease such as stomatitis, a common feline condition that causes painful inflammation of the gums and mouth tissues.

Other dental-health warning signs include bleeding gums, yellow or brown teeth, pawing at the mouth, and loose or missing teeth.


2. Brush Your Pet's Teeth


Close Up of Dog Gums

While it might seem daunting at first, with enough patience and plenty of yummy rewards, you can turn tooth brushing into a bonding experience with your dog or cat. It might take several weeks to train your four-legged friend to warm up to the toothbrush, so start by letting her smell the toothbrush and pet toothpaste, then gradually work your way to brushing for 30 seconds on each side of her mouth. The goal is to eventually brush her teeth daily if you can. By the way, human toothpaste isn't safe for pets, so be sure to use a product approved for your pet.

If you're scared your dog or cat will bite you, ask your veterinarian for alternative tartar-control options.


3. Consider Dental Toys, Treats and Food


Closeup of Dry Food

While it's not as effective as brushing your pet's teeth, giving her treats, toys and food specifically designed to promote oral health will help her maintain healthy gums and teeth. Check for the Seal of Acceptance from the Veterinary Oral Health Council to make sure that whatever alternative you choose meets the standards for effective plaque and tartar control.

4. Ask Your Vet for a Dental Exam


Vet Checking Dog's Teeth

Humans aren't the only ones who need their chompers checked by a professional; your four-legged friend needs to have her teeth and gums checked by a veterinarian. During the dental exam, the vet will first take your pet's medical history, then ask if you've noticed any dental health warning signs such as bad breath. Next, he'll examine your pet, including checking the head and neck for any abnormalities. Finally, he'll check out your pet's teeth and gums for redness, bleeding and inflammation. He'll also be on the lookout for tooth loss, cracked teeth, and tartar, as well as potentially cancerous lumps and bumps.

A cursory dental exam can usually be performed without sedation, unless your pet becomes aggressive or his teeth are very painful. For a complete dental evaluation, though, your pet will usually have to go under.


5. Don't Let Anesthesia Stop You From Getting a Dental Cleaning


Cat getting a dental cleaning

To thoroughly examine your pet's teeth and gums, properly get rid of nasty plaque and tartar, and really clean your pet's pearly whites, most veterinarians recommend anesthesia. Though sedating your dog or cat sounds scary, it's not as bad as it sounds — in fact, the procedure has never been safer or more comfortable. Before your vet even begins anesthesia, he may recommend prescreening tests to help ensure that your pet is healthy enough for the procedure.

When you think about it, the benefits of dental cleaning outweigh the possible risks of anesthesia. When Fluffy wakes up, her breath will smell better, and her teeth will be shinier and healthier. And as an extra bonus, maintaining healthy teeth and gums helps protect the body's other organs, like the heart and kidneys, from the damaging effects of dental disease.


For these reasons, during the months of February AND March, we are discounting our Dental Services by 10%*!!

Unsure if your pet needs a Dental Cleaning?

Call to make an appointment for a FREE Dental Exam and receive a FREE toothbrush or fingerbrush to help keep your pet's teeth clean all year long :)



 *Discounted services include Dental Anesthetic and Monitoring, Dental cleaning, Fluoride treatment and Extractions, if needed)

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