You know about the importance of visiting your dentist twice yearly for regular dental cleanings and checkups — but what about your pet? It’s something we don’t often think about, but our cats and dogs have very similar dental hygiene needs to us — but they aren’t able to brush or floss their own teeth. While the average cosmetic dentistry patient spends anywhere between $5,000 to $6,000 on improving their smiles, most people spend $0 on making sure their pets’ teeth are healthy.
As a result, a stunning 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will display signs of dental disease or decay before they reach three years old. And unlike people, pets are unable to take advantage of peroxide-based teeth whiteners, veneers or dental implants to help correct the effects of dental disease.
To help combat these statistics, the American Veterinary Dental Society has named the month of February National Pet Dental Health Month to help encourage pet owners to bring their cats and dogs to the veterinarian’s office for dental cleanings.
Here are three things you can do to help your pet’s dental hygiene throughout the month of February:
Feed your pet the right diet
Much like with our own dental health, our pets’ diets play a big role in how healthy their teeth are. The right pet food should help fight plaque and tartar build-up, not contribute to it. Be sure to give your cat or dog high-quality, additive-free pet food that’s right for his or her age, size and breed.
Regularly inspect your pet’s teeth
You can tell a lot about your pet’s dental health by simply looking at his or her teeth. Your pet should have white teeth, light-pink gums that aren’t swollen, and relatively fresh breath. Loose teeth, bumps on the tongue and discolored gums are all signs of concern.
Ask your pet’s veterinarian to perform regular dental cleanings and exams
You should already be bringing your cat or dog to the veterinarian twice a year. At these regular checkups, ask your veterinarian to give your pet a dental cleaning as well. This allows your pet to get a professional teeth cleaning and helps the veterinarian detect signs of disease or complications in your pet’s teeth.
Have any other questions for us on finding a dentist office, or about cosmetic dentistry? Get the conversation going — feel free to ask us anything by leaving a comment below!