The month of February is National Pet Dental Health Month and doctors want pet-parents to talk to their family veterinarians about good dental hygiene for their fury friends.
"We need to get out of the habit of waiting to treat problems once they occur," said Dr. Gary Modrcin, a board-certified dentist and oral surgeon with BluePearl. "Instead, people should focus on preventing problems, which means less expensive procedures and less pain for your furry friends."
According to PetMD.com, over 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats will show signs of dental disease by the time they are 3-years-old.
Ideally, pet dentists recommend that pets to have an oral exam that includes dental X-rays at least once a year. Regular daily brushing is also recommended.
Modrcin said the same rules apply for pets as they do for people and poor dental health can have lasting effects on pets just as in people. Diabetes, inflammatory diseases and autoimmune diseases can all be exacerbated by dental disease.
More importantly, local pain and infection is very significant with dental diseases, though most pets will not show signs of oral pain. Instead, it isn't until after treatment that most owners will notice a significant difference in their pet's behavior.
While most signs are not recognizable until it's too late, symptoms of dental problems can include, bad breath, brown teeth, pawing or rubbing at the face and mouth, swollen or red gums or hesitation to eat hard foods.
"If you are ever in doubt of, or questioning your pet's health, make sure you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible," Modrcin said.