February is Pet Dental Health Month

Follow these tips for good pet dental hygiene

Los Angeles, CA– Keeping your pet’s teeth clean – even between dental check-ups at the vet – is important for more than just fresh breath and a winning smile. You can help prevent periodontal (gum) disease or a bacterial infection that can harm your pet’s kidneys, liver, heart or brain. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) offers these pet dental hygiene tips for best practices.

First, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a dental exam. Remember, if your vet suggests a cleaning, it should take place in a vet’s office under their supervision. Make sure to take your pet to the veterinary office at least once a year for an annual check-up, which will include a dental exam and recommendations for further care or treatment if necessary.

Like people, pets have bacteria in their mouths that can get into the bloodstream and infuse different organs, causing infections. Organs most often affected by oral diseases are the lungs, heart, kidneys and liver, and nervous system. Most dogs and cats show signs of oral disease by the age of three. Signs of dental disease are include the following (please call your vet ASAP if you notice these symptoms):

  • Bad breath
  • Loose or discolored teeth
  • Teeth covered in tartar
  • Discomfort
  • Drooling
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss

Brushing your pets’ teeth regularly is important and can prevent costly vet bills. You can do it yourself with toothbrush and toothpaste specifically made for animals.

  • Examine the animal’s mouth for discolored or broken teeth, masses, ulcerations and/or abscesses.
  • Make sure your pet is comfortable, put a little toothpaste on your finger for your pet to smell and lick.
  • Put a little paste on the brush, and move in small circles, across the gum line.
  • A little bleeding is ok, but if it’s chronic, see a vet.
  • End each session with positive reinforcement (a special treat, affection).

In addition to brushing your pet’s teeth, providing a chew also aids in pet dental health. A variety of dental products and chews are available for purchase at the spcaLA Marketplace, where all the profits benefit shelter pets. The Marketplace is open for in-store shopping or order ahead for curbside pick-up, Wednesday-Sunday, 9am-3pm. Get started at spcaLA.com/Marketplace.