February is Pet Dental Health Month

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Making sure your pet is the healthiest can be difficult. Fortunately, there’s an entire month dedicated to helping you figure the best ways to keep your pet’s mouth and teeth healthy.

February is Pet Dental Health Month and it might be something you’ve never really given much thought to besides the fact that your dog’s breath might smell bad. It turns out, there are even worse things that could be going on inside your cat or dog’s mouth that you might not realize.

Dr. Rachel Shutter with Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic says “80% of dogs and 70% of cats by the age of 3 do have dental disease and most of it is going to be under the gum line. So, think of it as an iceberg. We only see what’s on the very top and we don’t know what’s on the bottom.”

Dr. Shutter says a pet with bad dental health can cause a lot of other health problems down the road. “It is extremely important. Dental health is extremely important for our pets because it is painful, but it also can lead to other diseases that we see. Very commonly heart disease. We see bacteria that seeds from the mouth gets in the blood stream and then will settle on the heart valve of these dogs and then that causes a murmur which will eventually lead to congestive heart failure. Also see issues with kidney and liver, basically it’s whole animal health not just mouth,” Dr. Shutter added.

Also keep in mind that tooth extractions or dental surgery on your pet does not come cheap. So it’s all about preventative care and there are things that you can give your pet to help their mouths stay healthy.  “So just as we brush our teeth every single day to try and decrease the bacteria load in our mouth, decrease plaque and tartar build up, the same goes for our pet and a lot of times we don’t really think about that. So “It is extremely important. Dental health is extremely important for our pets because it is painful, but it also can lead to other diseases that we see. Very commonly heart disease. We see bacteria that seeds from the mouth gets in the blood stream and then will settle on the heart valve of these dogs and then that causes a murmur which will eventually lead to congestive heart failure. Also see issues with kidney and liver, basically it’s whole animal health not just mouth,” said Dr. Shutter

But if you’re not comfortable messing with your cat or dog’s mouth then be sure to take them in for a yearly physical with your veterinarian just to check things out.

 

 

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