February is Pet Dental Health Month! Taking care of your dog’s mouth is just as important as taking care of the rest of his or her body. Unfortunately, most pet parents don’t realize that doggy toothpaste and doggy dentists are a necessary part of keeping their dog happy and healthy.

Here are 6 great reasons pet dental health is important, not just for your pet, but for you too!

  1. Periodontal Disease. Just like people, dogs are at risk of getting plaque build up that turns into tartar that grows bacteria. This leads to a common and painful condition known as Periodontal Disease. It causes tooth and gum decay, causing tooth loss, bad breath and oral pain.
  2. Bad Breath. Everyone loves kissing their dog, except when they have bad breath. Cleaning your dog’s teeth on a regular basis means there will be less or even no plaque. This will make your dog’s kisses safer, and they will smell better. Children, seniors and people with lowered immune systems need to be especially careful that their dog’s mouth is cleaned to avoid the passing on of germs and possible infections.
  3. Overall Health. Did you know that the germs found in a dog’s mouth could actually affect the rest of its body? Bacteria caused by plaque can travel and impact the heart, kidney and other organs. Also, since dogs tend to lick things, if your dog licks something bad, while it has open sores or bleeding gums, the germs can get absorbed into the rest of the body through that exposed area.
  4. Professionals Get Expensive. A lot of pet parents let their dog’s mouth go for long periods of time, allowing their teeth and gums to decay until the only thing that can help their dog is a professional teeth cleaning. These procedures, depending on if anesthesia is used, can be quite expensive as well as uncomfortable and even risky for your pet, depending on any pre-existing conditions they may have. Expenses add up even more when you take into account all the x-rays, tooth extractions and/or medications that a pet parent will need to pay for if a dog’s mouth gets bad enough. Therefore, taking regular care of your dog’s teeth is a lot less expensive.
  5. Baby Teeth. Just like people, dogs have baby teeth that fall out before their adult teeth come out. Taking care of those baby teeth, not only ensures a healthy mouth for your puppy, but it also gets your dog used to having his or her teeth brushed. This is a great way to start your pup’s journey to healthy teeth and gums.
  6. Increases Lifespan. Pet parents want to have as much time as possible with their beloved fur baby. So, imagine if you could easily add years to your pet’s life just by taking care of their mouth. Research shows that you can actually increase your pet’s lifespan by 2 to 5 years with regular pet dental care.

Your dog may not like having its teeth brushed at first, but with a little time, patience, and possibly a small treat, they might even start looking forward to it. And you will too, knowing that taking care of your pet’s dental health is keeping your fur baby healthy for many years to come. There are also various dental treats available that help prevent teeth and gum disease, but these should be used in addition to a regular cleaning routine. The most important thing is that every little bit of dental care helps, and Pet Dental Health Month reminds us of that.