By Dr. Christina Zeoli, Associate Veterinarian

dentalFebruary is National Dental Health Month, and I would like to use this time to raise awareness of the significance of oral health. Many of our canine and feline friends have stinky breath, which may be due to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease includes gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth).

The American Veterinary Dental College reports that most dogs and cats have measurable disease by 3 years of age! There is a wide range in the appearance and severity of periodontal disease, which often cannot be properly evaluated or treated without general anesthesia.  Periodontal disease affects more than just the mouth; it can also cause microscopic changes in the heart, liver and kidneys. Luckily there are things we can do to prevent, and even reverse, early periodontal disease with dental health care.

Just like in humans, home oral hygiene is the single most important factor to decrease the progression of periodontal disease of our furry friends. It can also prolong the time needed between professional dental cleanings. Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to ensure your pet’s teeth stay healthy:

  • Brushing teeth: the most effective way to maintain oral health when performed once daily. Use tooth brushes and toothpastes developed for dogs and cats.
  • Chlorohexidine rinses/gels: most effective anti-plaque antiseptic
  • Treats/Diets: There are several “dental diets” that can help break down tartar and also dental treats (Greenies-for dogs and cats, CET treats-dogs). We do not recommend cow hooves, dried natural bones or hard nylon products because they are too hard and can fracture teeth.
  •  Scheduling an exam with one of our veterinarians to determine health care plan and if a professional dental cleaning is recommended.

Make brushing your pet’s teeth part of your daily routine and help eliminate that stinky breath! It will make them happier, live longer, and they can proudly show off that dazzling smile!

Give us a call today at 301-258-0333 to get your pet scheduled for a free dental evaluation with one of our licensed vet techs.  Any pet receiving one of our comprehensive dental cleanings during the month of February will automatically be entered into our raffle for a chance to win a luxury vacation in our lodging resort or a 1-year supply of Heartgard!