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February Recognized as National Pet Dental Health Month

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MARION COUNTY -

From a young age, we are taught how important it is to take care of our teeth to prevent cavities and gum disease.

Well, the same goes for our pets.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. It aims to draw attention to a serious health issue for pets.

Many people are unaware that bad dental hygiene could damage not only your pet's teeth and gums but its internal organs as well.

"Dental problems are very common in dogs and cats," said Dr. Scott Moore, Fairmont Veterinary Hospital. "They are under appreciated. In fact many people think a dog is supposed to have bad breath."

Vets said bad breath could be a sign of a serious health risk.

"Those teeth can cause major problems throughout the body including heart disease, liver disease," Dr. Moore said. "Just losing teeth can cause massive infections."

Those infections could cost you a pretty penny.

Once the teeth get too bad, your pet may have to go under anesthesia to have its teeth cleaned.

"The number of patients that truly have dental issues or need some kind of dental intervention, it's about 80 to 90 percent of all pets," Dr. Moore said.

So, what is the solution?

How can we prevent this from happening to our pets?

"I always tell folks the ideal goal is to brush your teeth every day," Moore said.

Brush your pet's teeth every day shouldn't be done with a human toothpaste.

Brands like Crest or Colgate are very toxic to dogs.

Pet stores offer various products like mouthwash, dog dental care kits, and natural toothpaste.

"We sell toothbrushes in many different forms or sizes depending on the breed or the size of the dog," said Ryan Wetzel, Petco employee. "We sell the actual toothpaste which helps reduce tarter and plaque."

It is important to have your pet's teeth checked at their yearly checkup.

"Get a physical exam every year and make sure things are staying on the up and up," Dr. Moore said.

If you still have some questions about your pet's health, they can be answered at Petco in Granville at its free Pet Oral Health Event.

It will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on February 23 and 24.