In honor of this occasion this February, the AVMA is educating the public on the impact of pet dental health on overall well-being.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced it will sponsor National Pet Dental Health Month this February to raise awareness of the importance of pet oral care.
"Oral disease is one of the most frequently diagnosed health problems for our dogs and cats, and it can have serious consequences for our pets' health," said Jose Arce, DVM, president of the AVMA, in an organizational release.
"This is not just a matter of bad breath or stained teeth. In addition to causing receding gums, tooth loss and often significant pain, bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream, potentially affecting the heart, liver and kidneys, which can be life-threatening,” he added.1
Halitosis could indicate a serious health risk that poses a threat to a pet’s teeth, gums, and internal organs. Arce recommended regular dental exams to maintain a pet’s overall well-being.
Most dogs and cats display signs of periodontal disease by age 3, often shown by bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and mouth, and depression.2
Though daily tooth brushing is suggested for dogs and cats, research cited in the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry3 demonstrated that only 2% of dog owners follow this practice. Additionally, a survey of pet owners displayed that only 14% of dogs and 9% of cats receive oral care at the veterinary clinic.4
Arce suggests a pet's teeth be checked twice a year by their veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist for early signs of an issue and to maintain oral health. Pet parents should also have their pet's teeth examined if they witness any of the following problems1:
The AVMA recommends pet owners collaborate with their veterinarians to start an at-home pet dental care routine, in addition to regular dental exams and professional dental cleanings.1