February is Dental Health Month at FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital
Athena (FloridaWild patient)
By: Jo Singer, MSW, CSW, LCSW (Ret.)
Although February is the shortest month in the year, when it comes to our pets’ health, it is the longest one in the “love” department. Therefore it makes perfect sense that FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital is celebrating February as National Pet Dental Health Month. February is the optimum time for pet parents to make that important veterinary dental appointment to have their fur family member’s annual checkup and teeth cleaning. Many clinics around the country are also celebrating National Dental Health Month by offering special discounts for routine dental care, which, when you think about it, could be considered as a loving gift for their patients and clients.
Dental care is extremely crucial to maintain our pets’ overall robust health. However, although February has been set aside as National Pet Dental Health Month, Dr. John R. Lewis, assistant professor of Dentistry and Oral Surgery at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, emphasize that “dental health is not just a month-long proposition, but rather a life-long effort.”
While today there has been an increase in the number of owners who daily brush their pet’s teeth, Dr. Lewis continues to be surprised by how many people who visit his practice have never considered this as part of caring for their pets.
Dr. Lewis said, “Make no mistake. Daily brushing is the single most important and least expensive thing clients can do for their pet to maintain dental health and perhaps contribute to overall health.” He recommends while daily brushing is the most effective way to maintain excellent pet oral health, at the very least, brushing their teeth every other day with a soft- bristled brush (or other device) can be extremely helpful.
He added, “A soft-bristled brush, in a circular motion at a 45-degree angle to the gingival margin is a powerful tool against plaque and gingivitis. The mechanical effect of the bristles is more important than what is placed on the brush. Human toothpaste is not recommended since it contains fluoride and shouldn’t be swallowed.”
Although pet owners initially may be concerned about whether their fur companions will accept having their teeth brushed; being patient and consistent and then rewarding their pet with a few treats, owners will truly be amazed about how quickly their pets can become cooperative while undergoing this simple task.
There are a wide range of excellent “taste tested” pet dental care products on the market today. Most veterinary clinics carry a selection of tooth brushes, toothpaste and liquids. Additionally, oral health supplies are also sold on the Internet by pet supply companies. However, before purchasing any pet dental products, it is always prudent to check with your veterinarian for their recommendations on the most effective and safest ones.
Of course, it goes without saying that even for folks who regularly brush their pets’ teeth, annually scheduled professional dental checkups and cleanings are advised. To celebrate February as Pet Dental Health Month, FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital is offering 10% off dental care performed in February and the Funky Mutt Market is offering 50% off teeth brushing with grooming services. So why not celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month by making an appointment today?
What are your thoughts about pet dental care? Share them in a comment.