AUSTIN—February marks National Pet Dental Health Month, a time to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining optimum oral health in cats and dogs for the sake of their overall health. Reliable and accurate information on pet dental health can be found on TexVetPets.org, the veterinary professional-written and peer-reviewed pet health website of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA). The website houses several articles on dental care, one of which covers common signs of dental disease and outlines a comprehensive oral care program: texvetpets.org/article/basic-dental-care-for-your-pet/.
The articles explore how poor oral health can negatively impact the rest of a pet’s body, including the heart valves, liver and kidneys. The culprit is often periodontal disease, which is one of the most common diseases in cats and dogs. By age 3, most dogs and cats show signs of periodontal disease, according to the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC).
“Periodontal disease involves bacteria that can cause significant infection in the mouth, and this infection can impact the health of the rest of the body, from the kidneys and the heart to the liver and lungs,” says Heidi Lobprise, DVM, DAVDC, a board-certified veterinary dentist and TVMA member who practices at Main Street Veterinary Hospital in Flower Mound, Texas.
Pet owners can reduce the risk of periodontal disease by following a quality oral hygiene program, which includes taking pets for routine physical examinations, professional dental treatment and home dental care. An at-home preventative dental care regimen may include providing dental chews, water additives and specially formulated dry pet food as well brushing pets’ teeth daily with specially formulated toothpaste. TexVetPets encourages pet owners to watch this instructional video on how to brush a dog’s teeth: https://tinyurl.com/yaaseo98
“With good dental care from puppyhood or kittenhood through the senior years, you can make a difference in the quality of life for your family pet,” says Lobprise. “As a veterinary dental specialist, I believe you can even improve the lifespan of these important family members as well, keeping them around and as healthy as possible for years to come.”