Celebrating Healthy, Happy Pet Smiles

The fact that February is Pet Dental Health Month is no secret. As my own dentist was checking out my mouth, he asked me questions while poking all around. And he expected answers. We’ve all been there, right?

Dogs don’t have to worry about this, as veterinarians rarely ask “So, what do you think about that new fire hydrant on Main Street?” as they have their hands in a dog’s mouth. Nor do they expect an answer.

However, the dentist does expect us to answer. My dentist was making small talk, asking me questions about the upcoming dog show in Chicago, inquiring about specific breeds. My responses sounded like, “Blgaoo vran rootoo” to you and me – but dentists can translate this language.

As he completed, he commented about me needing to floss more and then wished me a happy Pet Dental Health Month. Well, my dentist doesn’t even have a dog, or a cat or any pet. How does he know?

Still, despite awareness of what we should do as pet owners, we let dental care slide. That’s even though pet owners are increasingly aware that in doing so – we’re potentially impacting our pet’s quality of life and even lifespan. For starters, gum disease is painful when it gets bad. And experts suggest in many pets it is painful, but the animals are unable to articulate their feelings, so they all they do is compensate by chewing on the other side or more gingerly. Most of the time pet owners don’t even notice until a veterinarian intercedes.

What’s more, with all that plaque and tartar, and associated bacteria, over time, overall pet health is affected. Truly kidney and heart function may be impacted by what’s going on in the mouth. As so many things are, it’s all about prevention.

But enough of the negative. I’m a positive reinforcement guy. So, let’s celebrate people who do care for their pets’ mouths. Let’s all say ‘Cheese Doggies,’ and enter your dog in the Superstar Smiles Photo Contest. You can win stuff for you and your dog. There’s no cost to enter of course, all you need is a camera and dog who can smile. That winning smile can win you and your dog all sorts of cool stuff.

-Photo Credit: An excellent Petrodex Superstars Smiles Photo Entry, Teddy Ruxpin by Janet Carhuayano

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