What Does Your Pet’s Smile Show?

“Smile, you are on ‘Candid Camera!'”  Some of you are old enough to remember this show and all the laughs and smiles the pranks brought forth. Well, if your pet could smile (and some can, it is cute when they do!), what would that smile reveal? Bright pearly whites with healthy gums or stained, tartar- and plaque-ridden teeth with inflamed gums, or even missing teeth? Hopefully, a healthy mouth. However, unless your pet is one of very few lucky ones that somehow genetically are blessed with great oral health, you, as their pet parent, have to take an active role in ensuring their “smile” is bright, white and healthy.

This role can include such things as the SENTRY Petrodex Filled Dental Bones for Dogs, special oral hygiene treats, mouth washes and, as a “gold standard,” daily brushing. Several times daily I examine patients, both dogs and cats, where when I “flip a lip” will see anything from completely healthy mouths to mild tartar to severe dental disease with teeth falling out. Many times when the pet parent is shown this, the comment is, “I don’t understand , I only feed dry food.” While there are specially formulated oral health diets available, and they do help, there is no substitute for brushing on a regular basis. Just imagine your own mouth health if you didn’t brush, even with the “best” of diets.

Most pets, approximately 80-85 percent, will have enough “dental disease” to warrant them visiting their doggy or kitty dental hygienists to have a professional cleaning. Many times this may be extended with proper and consistent home dental care. Start early, when your pets are puppies and kittens. It is not that hard but does take some time and dedication.

“The shin bone is connected to the knee bone, that is connected to the thigh bone…” Well, the mouth is connected to the rest of our bodies. The same is true for our pets. Studies have shown that good oral health may extend our pet’s lives by some one to two years. Lack of oral health can lead to kidney failure, liver disease and heart disease.

While February is advertised as Pet Dental Health month, dental health is every month, year-round, for your entire pet’s life span. It is not just a once-a-year visit to your vet to have the teeth cleaned, although this is important as well, and may still be needed even with good home care. Like humans, even though we brush our teeth, we still need to have regular visits to our dentist.

Your pet will not likely be wearing any whitening strips, but  bright, healthy teeth and gums should be seen whether your pet can smile or not. As Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson would say, this will make us, Happy, Happy, Happy!


Editor’s Note: SENTRY Pet Care Products has a full line of veterinary-strength dental care products. Looking to start dental care, but don’t know where to start? Ask us! We’re here to help. Post your questions in the comments below. Visit our website for more information about pet dental care and what products work the best for your pet. Happy Pet Dental Month!


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