The Importance of Your Pet’s Dental Health

French Bulldog with Toothbrush

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

In recognition of Pet Dental Health Month, CVA reminds pet owners that protecting their fanged friends’ health should be a daily happening.

Let’s be honest, most pet owners aren’t too keen on looking in their furry friend’s mouth. Why should they be?

As it turns out, most people underestimate the vitality of pet oral hygiene. No one wants to pry open and stick their face in a smelly dog-mouth, but pets need proper dental care just as much as humans. Bacteria constantly builds up in the mouth. Left untreated, it will enter the bloodstream and affect their heart, kidneys or liver.

Like a walk outside or brushing their fur, teeth-brushing must be part of your daily routine. Ideally, it is best to train your dog when they’re still a puppy. But, if yours is past this point, don’t fret, it is still possible to do with some patience.

People are accustomed to going to regular checkups with their dentists and brushing their teeth on a daily basis, but oftentimes neglect the maintenance of their pet’s dental hygiene.  The well-being of cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits and other pets will benefit from proper care for pet’s teeth, gums and breath. Take your pet to the vet for a full pet dental exam to better understand how dental health affects overall health.

What to Know About Poor Dental Hygiene

Brushing your pet’s teeth may sound daunting now, but neglect can lead to inflammation of an animal’s gums, gingivitis, or serious infections such as periodontitis. Left untreated, periodontitis causes he spread of bacteria through the blood stream. This leads to bone loss, painful abscesses, difficulty eating or infection of the heart, liver, lungs and kidneys.

Bad breath, inflamed gums, plaque and calculus, swollen jaw, trouble chewing and nasal discharge and sneezing are all indicators of dental disease in dogs. If your pet shows one or more of these symptoms them it’s time to schedule a veterinary dental cleaning. At that time, a vet tech will scrape the teeth free of any plaque and clean them with a high-powered, ultra-sonic water pick, leaving his or her teeth squeaky clean.

Once home, be sure to purchase a pet-approved, non-toxic toothpaste that contains enzymes to break down the plaque.

In addition to regular cleanings and brushing, anti-bacterial supplements are available for water dishes. This can reduce the amount of oral bacteria that causes foul-smelling mouth odors. Pet treats, created with animal-safe ingredients that clean teeth are available at local pet stores. These have been proven to eradicate plaque, strengthen gums and leave breath smelling fresh.

There are also veterinary prescription diets available that can be used if your veterinarian deems appropriate.

Central Veterinary Associates’ hospital in Valley Stream is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information or to make an appointment, call (516) 825-3066 or visit

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