• Brittany Gerris

No One Likes Going to the Dentist

We take care of our furred and feathered family members by feeding them the best food; giving them love and affection (even when the cat very obviously hates us for it); playing and exercising them; and yet, we often forget their mouths need care too.

As pet owners, we want our pets to have the best lives and that includes their health, but when it comes to putting a silicon thimble-like object on our hand and brushing our furbabies' teeth, we're a little squeamish. This is entirely understandable as we can tell that they hate it, but don't they also hate being bathed, or having their nails trimmed?

February is “Veterinary Dental Care Month” in Canada. So, let's take the time this month to add a 'to-do' list item and care for our pet's teeth. Ask your veterinarian the next time you're in what you can do. For dogs, there are lots of treats that help, but remember to check regularly that plaque or tartar isn't building up along your best friend's gumline.

Hill's has some great tips to care for your dog's teeth, things to watch for, and why it's so important in their article "How Proper Dog Oral Care Leads to Healthy Dog Teeth".

One of the most important points that Hill's makes, in my opinion, is noticing when your beloved pet has consistently bad breath. As a pet owner, I had this happen twice before to my cat, Leo. He has had two dental surgeries because he has bacteria on his teeth that his gums reject. Thankfully after the first surgery, I knew what to watch for and the second one was done early enough to save him from any real danger. He now has two little "nubs" as I call them and is happier than ever because he's not in pain.

This experience was scary and I feared losing him under anesthesia, but I also learned how important oral care is for animals. They need check-ups just like we do, so I make sure to check my pets at least once a week for excess plaque and tartar, bad breath, and if their gums are red.

February may be the month to promote oral health for our pets, but it should be a regular check as problems from teeth can lead to larger issues.

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