The Roundup -

Don't Forget Your Four-Legged Friend


Don't turn your nose to your pets' bad breath! That odor might signify a serious health risk, with the potential to damage not only your pet's teeth and gums but its internal organs as well.

To address the significance of oral health care for pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month every February. This means it's time to pay extra attention to your pet's teeth. It's important to take proper care of canine and feline teeth, because if left untreated, plaque and tartar buildup can progress to painful periodontal disease. Approximately 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by the age of three. The bacteria from periodontal disease can spread to other organs and cause illnesses - you don't want your four-legged companion to become part of that alarming statistic.

Three Simple Steps to Dental Care: Pet owners can brush up on their four-legged friends' oral care by following three simple guidelines outlined by the American Veterinary Dental Society.

Take your pet to get a dental exam. Your pet should have a routine veterinarian examination, including a careful examination of his teeth and gums, at least once a year.

Start an at-home regimen. Ask your veterinarian to suggest nutritional supplements and a regular teeth brushing schedule or a specially formulated food proven to help remove plaque and tartar from your pet's teeth.

Schedule dental cleanings. Take your pet for regular dental checkups.

Signs of Dental Disease:

What are some indicators that your cat or dog may have dental disease? The American Veterinary Dental College, the clinical specialist organization for veterinary dentists, lists the following on their Web site: Bad breath, loose or discolored teeth or teeth covered in tartar, your pet is not comfortable with you touching within the mouth area, drooling or dropping food from the mouth, bleeding from the mouth and loss of appetite or loss of weight.

Your pet's dental health is just as important as your own; if your pet shows any of these signs, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.


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