February is National Pet Dental Health Month

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There is much to celebrate in February, from glorious Florida weather, to Valentine’s Day, to Customer Appreciation Day (February 16th at Pets Plus! Join us!) February also happens to be National Pet Dental Health Month. Dental health is vital to a pet’s overall health, as mouth issues can lead to more serious secondary diseases, like heart or kidney disease. The American Veterinary Dental Society estimates that up to 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will develop some form of oral disease by age three. Read on to learn how to protect your pets.

Train your pet to let you brush its teeth

The American Veterinary Dental Society recommends that you brush your pet’s teeth everyday. We often hear pet owners complain because their pets don’t enjoy it, and it can become a serious chore. Any time you put something near a pet’s (especially a dog’s) mouth, they will assume it is something they can eat. To make it easier on both of you, train them to be more comfortable with the idea of having something in their mouth that isn’t food.

  1. Start with your fingers. Before you begin introducing a toothbrush, play with your pet’s lips and gums and put your fingers (carefully) in their mouth several times a day for a couple of weeks. This presents the idea of not biting or eating something foreign in their mouth, without introducing a new object that could potentially be scary to them.
  2. Bring in the toothbrush. Everyday, hold the toothbrush up to them and let them sniff, lick, and investigate it. Later, add a pea-sized amount of pet toothpaste (NOT human toothpaste!) to the brush. Again, let them sniff, investigate, or lick – but try not to let them eat it.
  3. SLOWLY begin brushing – just a few front teeth at first. Reward your pet every time they allow you to brush a few teeth with a small treat and praise.
  4. Brush their entire mouth. Be sure to end with a treat!
  5. Brush everyday at a predictable time. Your pet will know what to expect, and you’ll fall into a good habit!

Book a dental for your pet

At Pets Plus, we are pleased to offer regular anesthesia-free Doggy Dental appointments. Doggy Dental cleanings are quick, gentle, and performed by veterinary professionals in their state-of-the-art mobile dental office. Our customers have been very pleased with this service, and relieved that their pets don’t have to undergo anesthesia to keep their teeth healthy! Visit our Events page on our website to view our schedule and book your appointment by calling the store at 941.776.0770. Visit DoggyDentals.com for more information about this service.

Maintain a healthy mouth with additional oral care

We stock a variety of treats, chews, toys, and oral solutions that promote dental and gum health. These are great for supplementing daily brushing, or for a pet that is extremely averse to or nervous about brushing. Ask us in store for suggestions for your pet!

Nicole Apostle is the marketing director at Pets Plus.