Pets Need Dental Health Checkups Too

By: Pam Wiese Email
By: Pam Wiese Email

Valentine’s Day is also a time to show your pets some love. February is Pet Dental Health Month. One of the most prevalent problems the Nebraska Humane Society sees in animals is bad teeth.

Dogs not only get all their nourishment through the mouth they also use their mouth like we use our hands, so dental health is especially important. According to a study by the American Veterinary Association, oral disease is the number one health problem diagnosed in dogs and cats with 85 percent of dogs two years or older having periodontal disease. That's scary when you realize that unhealthy teeth spread infection and disease to other parts of the body like the heart and cuts a pet's lifespan by five years.

Yearly dental care by your veterinarian is key to good pet health, but there are some things you can do at home, too. Brushing your pet’s teeth, using a pet toothbrush and paste so you don't damage the gums or upset the tummy, is a great way to help remove tartar and buildup.

You might think a young child won’t even do this, but just getting the toothpaste on the teeth can really help. So can little fingertip brushes if your dog or cat is uncooperative. Hard chews can help scrape plaque and tartar from a dog’s teeth and Nylabones and Antlers also keep pets occupied. Just make sure you monitor when he or she has a chew toy.

Other products made from gluten not only scrape teeth, their natural ingredients also help freshen your pet's breath. And that brings up signs to look for. If your pet stops eating and begins losing weight, bad teeth could be causing pain. Bad breath, bleeding gums and loose teeth should all be checked out by a veterinarian.

There’s a fun way to call attention to pet dental health. Sunday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., the NHS Animal Outfitters retail store is hosting Dental Day. Pets are welcome and you can find out about products that can help while picking up a free pet toothbrush.

The Nebraska Humane Society at 8929 Fort Street in Omaha is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can always look up animals and find information at

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