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National Pet Dental Health Month
February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and I encourage anyone who hasn't yet started their dogs and cats on a dental hygiene routine to begin today. Good dental hygiene doesn't just prevent "doggie breath"; it's essential to animals' overall health. Bacteria from unhealthy teeth and gums can enter an animal's bloodstream, which can cause liver, kidney, and heart complications.
Here's how to make brushing part of your animal's daily routine:
- Start slowly. Use toothpaste formulated for animals (human toothpastes can upset animals' stomachs) and let your companion lick the paste off your finger.
- Once your animal accepts the paste, put a dab on your finger and gently run it along your animal's teeth.
- When your animal is comfortable with this (it may take several days - be patient), try doing the same thing with a soft toothbrush designed for animals, making small, gentle circles along the gum line.
- Praise your animal throughout the process and give him or her a treat, playtime, and/or walk afterward.
If your animal has yellow or brown tartar buildup along the gum line; inflamed, red, swollen, bleeding, receding, or tender gums; persistent bad breath; or broken teeth, call your veterinarian right away. To learn more, visit www.HelpingAnimals.com.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
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