Why brushing your pets’ teeth is so important + how it saves you money
It was hard enough getting your kids on a regular tooth-brushing schedule. (Hello, Justin Bieber singing toothbrushes and cupcake-flavored toothpaste). So, we hope you’re up for a challenge. Your dog — you know, the least hygienic family member who will happily eat off the floor — actually needs his teeth brushed, too. And so does your cat.
Brushing your pets’ teeth can mean long-term savings on their veterinary care in the future. Eighty percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show some signs of gum disease by the age of 3.
Here’s what you need to know about dental hygiene for pets:
- Only 1 percent of pet owners brush their pet’s teeth and periodontal disease is the most common health problem that vets find in pets, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, or AVMA.
- Dental infection can spread to the your pet’s heart, kidneys and other organs — and possibly become life threatening.
- Regularly clean your pet’s teeth at home in addition to having cleanings done at the vet. Not only can you brush your pet’s teeth, but you can also use chew toys and treats that have teeth-cleaning agents. (Find oral care products for your dog and your cat at PetSmart)
- Correcting dental health problems can get pricy. If your vet finds gum disease or tooth problems, they might recommend that your pet’s teeth be professionally cleaned, x-rays may be called for and teeth may need to be extracted.
- A list of Veterinary Oral Health Council approved products is available at www.VOHC.org. Among them are Greenies Canine Dental Chews from Petco.
- Symptoms of dental disease in your pet include bad breath (especially repugnant); frequent pawing or rubbing at the face or mouth; reluctance to eat hard foods; red swollen gums and brownish teeth. You should alert your veterinarian if you pet has these symptoms.
Other articles you might also like:
• Race organizers increase security following Boston Marathon bombing
• Happy National Grilled Cheese Month. Here are some healthy recipes!
• 3 ways to celebrate Earth Day (and drop a few pounds, too!)
• Pole dancing as a workout? One mom says it has her in her best shape ever
• 7 free activities to put on your spring and summer must-do list
• From veggie hot dogs to sushi: How to eat healthy at the ballpark