How is Your Pet's Oral Health?
by Claire Holley on 1/21/2010

Help Fight Oral Disease

Make pet dental care a priority and schedule an oral health exam for your pet.
Dental health often falls low on a pet owner's list of pet care priorities, taking a back seat to exercise, proper nutrition and grooming. Perhaps many simply don't realize the importance of oral care to their pets' overall health. But by caring for your pets' teeth, you not only help prevent periodontal disease the most commonly diagnosed disease among cats and dogs over the age of three, but also help your pet to live a longer, healthier life.

In an effort to promote the importance of pet dental care to owners, the
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Veterinary Dental
Society (AVDS) and Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. have joined together this February
to spread the word about dental care during National Pet Dental Health Month. 

Dangers of Poor Dental Care


Pet owners are reminded of the dangers of poor pet dental care. Food particles and bacteria build up in the mouth and form plaque and tartar, which leads to gingivitis and severe periodontal disease. Periodontal disease leads to tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums, and, in severe cases, tooth loss. Even more complications arise when the bacteria that cause periodontal disease travel into a pet's bloodstream, possibly resulting in damage to the heart, liver, kidneys and lungs.

To prevent serious health problems caused by poor oral health, pet owners can follow
a few simple guidelines suggested by the AVDS:

1. Take your pet to the veterinarian for a dental exam. Your pet should have a
thorough physical exam, including examination of the teeth and gums, at least once a
year. If plaque and tartar buildup is evident, your veterinarian may recommend a
dental cleaning.

2. Start a home dental care routine. Your veterinarian can suggest an at-home
regimen that may include nutritional supplements and brushing your pet's teeth. One of
the most convenient and effective ways to combat oral disease is feeding specially
formulated foods proven effective in removing plaque and tartar buildup. The Seal of
Acceptance of the Veterinary Oral Health Council, an organization initiated by members
of the AVDS to guide consumers, appears on products that meet defined standards for
plaque and tartar control in dogs and cats.

3. Monitor your pet's oral health by scheduling checkups with your veterinarian. 
Regular dental cleanings may be recommended.

By following these easy steps and making dental care a priority all year long, pet owners can help prevent periodontal disease. For more information on pet dental care
and National Pet Dental Health Month, visit

The American Veterinary Medical Association was established in 1863 to enhance the
science and art of veterinary medicine. With more than 65,000 members, it is the
largest veterinary organization in the world.

In 1976, veterinarians formed the American Veterinary Dental Society to further the
knowledge and recognition of the importance of veterinary dentistry among veterinary
students and the general public.

Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of nutritional and therapeutic
pet foods. Founded more than 50 years ago, Hill's mission is to help enrich and
lengthen the special relationship between owners and their pets by producing the most
scientifically advanced, highest quality pet foods available.

Brush Up on Pet Dental Health Online

This web site details the National Pet Dental Health Month campaign and offers pet dental care tips. Is Rover's breath a bit offensive? Are Kitty's teeth yellow and
stained? Bad breath and stained teeth are not only unpleasant, but also early warning
signs of periodontal disease, one of the most common, yet easily treatable, diseases
among cats and dogs over the age of three. Now pet owners can brush up on pet dental
care and learn how to prevent periodontal disease at the Pets Need Dental Care, Too Web
site, located at

Information, links, and resources provided by

NC Veterinary Medical Association
1611 Jones Franklin Road, Suite 108
Raleigh, NC 27606-3376
Tel: (919) 851-5850
Fax: (919) 851-5859