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Healthy teeth for pets focus in February


BELLEVILLE, ON (02/01/12)- Amy Hill, a registered veterinary technician at Loyalist Veterinary Hospital, looks at Daisy May’s teeth, a ten year old golden Retriever on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. This is the first day of a month long awareness for pets’ dental health. Photo by Samantha Cantelon.

By Samantha Cantelon

February is finally here and that means it is National Pet Dental Health Month.

This gives veterinary clinics an opportunity to help raise awareness for pet owners about dental hygiene and a chance to learn about some easy tips to keep their pet’s teeth under control.

Although it may not seem like a top priority to brush your pet’s teeth daily  “ If you really stop and think about it, their teeth are a lot like ours,” said Amy Hill, a registered veterinary technician at the Loyalist Veterinary Hospital in Belleville. “For us to maintain our dental health, we brush everyday, go to the dentist and pets need the same thing in order to keep their teeth healthy as well.”

Dental Health Month gives pet owners an opportunity to encourage people to think about their pet’s teeth and what they are doing to maintain that health.

“And if they aren’t doing enough this time of year, we can sort of offer discounted dental food or discounted dentistry procedures, that sort of thing, “ said Hill.

If a pet’s dental disease gets out of control, it can lead to many more problems with the pet’s health. The bacteria in the pet’s mouth can go into the bloodstream and in turn cause heart problems and organ failures.

“Any pet over two years old often has some sort of dental disease. Either it’s just basic gingivitis or something more serious, and it’s one of those problems that will progressively get worse if you don’t do something about it,” said Hill.

Halitosis, most commonly known as “bad breath” is one of the tell-tale signs that your pet needs medical attention for their teeth.  It sometimes can be hard for pets to let their owners know there is something wrong, or that they are in pain.

For most pet owners, the cost of maintaining their pet’s dental hygiene can seem very expensive.

“Unfortunately dental procedures for pets are quite expensive, because of the anesthetic given to the animal for a proper cleaning,” said Hill.

Fortunately, a pet’s dental health can be maintained with a few simple daily routines starting from when you first get your pet, such as daily teeth brushing as well as certain kinds of foods and treats that prevent plaque build-up.

If you have any thoughts or concerns about your pet’s dental health or, maintaining that health, this month is a great time to approach your local veterinary clinics for information to keep your pet living a healthy life.