February is Dental Health Month

Studies show that as many as 85% of dogs over the age of 3 years old are suffering from a disease that is not only extremely painful, but outright deadly.  What condition are we talking about? Periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease is more than just a cosmetic issue. In addition to causing inflammation, bad breath, tooth loss, and pain for your dog, bacteria that starts in the gums can work its way into the bloodstream and affect the lungs, the kidneys, and even the heart. This condition could be causing your dog or cat to suffer in silence.

We’ve all heard that we should brush our dog’s teeth daily. Many of us, myself included, find this ritual especially taxing between the demands of everyday life and the fact that most dogs absolutely abhor this ritual.  While there is no substitute for brushing and periodic vet cleanings, there are some easier to follow steps we can all take to improve the health of our pup’s mouths.

Chewing can act as nature’s toothbrush. However, because typical dog food kibble tends to be high in carbs (leading to the accumulation of food around the gums) chewing regular old dog kibble simply isn’t enough.  Dental chews are a fantastic way to stimulate mechanical abrasion and remove debris and plaque from the mouth. Another way to stimulate your dog’s chewing is through durable toys with an abrasive surface that helps grind away plaque. The best toys are those with a course surface to more effectively remove food fragments.

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