February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Just as it’s important for us to have good dental habits, it’s very important that we also take care of our pets’ teeth. Katrena Mitchell (Photo: Times Record News file) Dogs have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. Those needle-sharp puppy teeth come in at about 3-4 weeks of age.
If you’ve ever had a puppy under 4-5 months old in your home, you are well aware of these teeth as puppies explore their world with their mouths.
They don’t have hands to handle objects to learn about the world around them, so their mouth does the job. Toys, furniture and sometimes our skin pays the price for these little piranhas.
At about 5-6 month of age, most dog lose their puppy teeth and their adult teeth come in. These are the teeth that we need to be concerned about as any damage to these can have disastrous long term affects.
As we all know, teeth are living tissue so any damage or tooth decay can lead to serious pain. We should regularly brush our dog’s teeth but there are other ways to help keep our pet’s teeth clean and healthy.
A discussion with your full-service veterinarian should always include your pet’s dental health. Besides the need for a regular dental which usually includes your pet being under anesthesia, your veterinarian can recommend different products to use to best help your pet.
Your pet’s teeth need to be checked at least yearly by your veterinarian for early sign of any problems. However, if your pet is showing any of the following signs: bad breath
broken or loose teeth
teeth with heavy tartar or discolored
drooling or unable to keep food in the mouth
or even refusing to eat.
Dental problems may also cause irritability and changes in behavior. This should also be a red flag to prompt a quick visit to your veterinarian.
Periodontal disease is not something to take lightly in either dogs or cats. This can show up as an issue as early as 3 years of age. Periodontal disease only gets worse if left untreated and can cause other health problems such as kidney, liver or heart issues.
Though February highlights the need for dental care for our pets, it’s a year-round responsibility. This is a great time to have a discussion with your veterinarian and get advice on what the best method is to keep your pet’s teeth clean and healthy.
There are a ton of products, chews and other items that are available to keep your pet’s teeth clean. Some work better than others. Sometimes it’s just trial and error to see what is best for your pet.
Pet columnist Katrena Mitchell can be reached at email@example.com
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