Pet dental care should be a priority for owners

PLATTSBURGH - People want clean and healthy teeth, but what about when it comes to their pet's teeth?

As February is National Pet Dental Health Month, it may be a time to consider scheduling routine dental visits for those furry friends.

"An increase in client awareness and the pet industry has helped. People want to spend more for their pets," Plattsburgh Animal Hospital manager Carey Crowningshield said.

Crowningshield added those who spoil their pets with toys and treats, are likely to make sure they have healthy teeth as well.

A good time to start scheduling routine dental visits for pets is at around 6 years-old.

"A pre-anesthetic blood screening will come first to rule out the biggest complications," Crowningshield explained.

Then, the animal is put under anesthesia, while the doctor scales and polishes the teeth. A pet should have its teeth cleaned every two years, depending on the state of the teeth and/or the animal's health history.

"If [a pet] has good oral health, they tend to have good general health," she said.

Pet dental care is as important for animals, as it is for people.

"There is no way to avoid it," Plattsburgh Animal Hospital veterinarian Thomas J. Brown Jr. said.

Brown said toxins from an abscess tooth can lead to infections throughout the body, which can lead to more health issues.

Dental problems are more common in smaller breed dogs that eat mostly canned food rather than dry food. Animals can get both tooth aches and cavities.

"The mouth is a source of infection for the whole body," he said.

Pet owners can reduce pet health issues by scheduling routine cleanings early on. They can also contribute to their pet's dental health right from home. Buying dental toys, using stylized pet brushes, and/or trying to decrease the amount of canned wet food are just a few steps that can make a big difference in their pet's dental health, Crowningshield said.

"There is a beef and liver flavored tooth paste as an abrasive to brush their teeth," Crowningshield said.

Several local animal hospitals have discounts to encourage pet owners to schedule dental visits for their pet.

For the first time, Plattsburgh Animal Hospital will be offering a 10 percent discount this February for dental exams and cleanings.

For more information on pet dental care, contact your local veterinarian or Plattsburgh Animal Hospital 566-7387.

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