February is National Pet Dental Health Month, but dental health should be practiced daily by all pet owners. You’ve heard the expression, “Dogs are people too” – well they need oral care just like people! Here are a few things to keep an eye out for when caring for your pet:
Halitosis, or bad breath, is usually the first sign of a pending problem with your dog’s oral health. It’s a sign of bacteria from food stuck between your dog’s teeth or perhaps even an infection. It can usually be treated by regular brushing, but if it continues, you should contact a veterinarian as it could be the sign of something more serious.
Gingivitis or swollen gums can be a sign of heavy plaque build up on your dog’s teeth. If you aren’t brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, this may creep up on you. With regular cleaning, this condition is reversible, but if bleeding continues or there is a noticeable sign of changes in gum color, then that is a good time to call a vet.
Periodontal disease is an infection between the teeth and gums that can be very painful for a dog. It can cause swelling, loose teeth, pain, and even difficulty eating. Dog owners should look for sign like swollen red gums, problematic chewing, and yellow or brown teeth. If your dog shows any indication of mouth pain, you should reach out to your vet.
Another thing to keep in mind when brushing your dog’s teeth daily is to always check for any lumps or bumps. While most are not a reason for concern, some could be a cyst or a tumor, and these need to be biopsied and removed if they are malignant.
The takeaway from all this is to use February to create a good oral care habit for your dog. I know…. Another thing to add to your list, but a few minutes of preventative care each day could save you and your pet huge problems down the road. Also, use toothpaste created for dogs. Never use toothpaste created for humans. If you have any questions, give us a call or reach out to me. I am always a bark away.