Keep those pearly whites…white

Psst, Sam here, don’t tell Mom but I hijacked the blog to tell you all about an important topic because the lawyers are keeping her too busy lately with closings and since I had nothing to do but buff my nails and look pawsome laying around the house…I thought I would do a public service announcement and help her out. Yes, I am a good doggie (mostly). 🙂

So here’s my bloggy contribution: The American Veterinary Medical Association and a number of veterinary groups are sponsoring awareness of pet dental health and designated February as National Pet Dental Health Month! Yup, that’s right, and if you’ve caught a whiff of your pup or kitty’s bad breath lately, it’s even more important to take care of it N.O.W. Not only can poor dental health cause bad breath, it may signify any number of serious health risks including potential for periodontal disease or even worse, damage to internal organs. Yikes!

I don’t know of any dog or cat that enjoys having their ‘paw-rent’ stick their chubby little fingers in their mouth for teeth brushing, I know I gag like I just swallowed a live toad. Mom tried toothbrushes (nope that ain’t gonna happen, my jaw clamps down like I’m a snapping turtle waiting for sundown) but then she found some finger brushes that while not great if you’re on the receiving end, are a whole lot better than toothbrushes. Gag, gag, gag. But I do like the liver flavored toothpaste.

Periodontal disease is the most common condition that pets suffer from even though it’s completely preventable. You floss YOUR teeth, don’t ya? Well, all that bacteria in a dog’s mouth combined with saliva (also known as dog kisses) and food bits can form plaque. When plaque accumulates, tartar can form. As more and more plaque combines with bacteria on top of the tartar and mineralization forms calculus. If plaque is soft, it can be brushed away, if it’s hardened into tartar and calculus, it has to be scraped away which means an expensive trip to the vet. I don’t know about you, but that’s not my idea of a fun afternoon outing.

When tartar and calculus trap bacteria around the gum line and if left untreated, can lead to irritation of the gum tissue (gingivitis) and then progress to full on periodontal disease. This can result in illness of the supporting tissues of the teeth, ligaments that attach gum to tooth and jaw bone. The American Veterinary Dental Society has estimated that 85% of cats and dogs have periodontal disease by age four. 85% people!!

Signs of periodontal disease may include bad breath (the first obvious sign there’s bad stuff a foot), excessive salivation, refusing to eat or dropping food, rubbing or pawing at face, loose or broken teeth and inflamed gums. Often times, bad breath will be the only symptom that shows up.

Beware, periodontal disease can lead to systemic problems with bacterial infection spreading from mouth to heart and heart valves, kidney and liver.

So do yourself, your pocketbook and your pet a big favor. Brush their choppers regularly. Giving your pet special treats can help scale some of that junk off.  Mom spoils me with elk antlers and boy I tell you, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE ’em and check out my smile. They last a long time without getting all gummy and smelly like some treats do and I haven’t grown bored with them either (win-win). Oral rinses or water additives can help too, but there’s just no substitute for regularly brushing and regular checks by your vet.

_MG_4671-(ZF-2552-28389-2-003)  So remember, February is National Pet Dental Month. Let’s flash those pearly whites around town and dispense with bad breath and ancillary health problems.

You know, this bloggy thing is kind of cool. Maybe I can sneak in a post or two again soon but don’t tell Mom. She’s a bit of a control freak and will totally wig out. 😉

Live, love, bark! <3