Did you know that 80% of people in our country brush their teeth on a day to day basis?  If that many people dedicate a brushing routine to their daily schedule, what about their pets?  The American Veterinary Medical Association saw this as a problem and decided to name February Pet Dental Health Month.

The organization estimates that by the age of 2, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease. It has been linked to diabetes, strokes, kidney disease and other life-threatening disorders. It can lead to painful infections within the mouth; in severe cases these infections can spread and become life-threatening conditions.

So what do experts suggest?  Brush your pets’ teeth daily, and have them examined by a dental professional at least once a year.  Also, if your pet is only eating soft food, make sure you at least add in hard food, because the wet food forms tartar along gum lines.

When taking your pet for a general exam, make sure the vet looks in the pet’s mouth. Every week or so, check your pet’s mouth on your own: Gums should be pink, not bright or dark red, and there should be no lesions or bumps. If you notice anything abnormal, follow up quickly.

For more information: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/02/01/pet.teeth.care/index.html?hpt=C2