February is Pet Dental Awareness Month and Veterinarians at MyPetCareTV.com Talk Dental Hygiene for Optimum Pet Health

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Bad pet breath can be an indicator of something worse.

We all love to hug and kiss our pets but hate that bad "doggie" or "kitty" breath. Bad pet breath isn't just the result of stinky food - it could be a sign of something more problematic. February is Pet Dental Awareness Month and the veterinarians at http://www.MyPetCareTV.com want pet owners to focus attention on their pet's teeth. While we may go to the dentist regularly, we forget about our dogs and cats. They, too, need regular teeth examinations.

Gum problems for dogs and cats not only make it hard for them to eat but can lead to more serious health problems. For example, infected gums can abscess, allowing bacteria to get into the bloodstream. This can lead to an overall infection of the blood, called bacteremia, which in turn can affect your pet's heart, liver, and kidneys. An older dog or cat's sluggishness can be more than just old age. Regular dental cleaning by your veterinarian can help older animals regain youthful energy.

Dr. Jan Bellows, DVM at All Pets Dental in Weston, Florida, one of the hundred board certified veterinary dentists in the country, and a member and contributor to MyPetCareTV.com for three years, says, "If your pet seems tired or listless, or stops eating, this could be a sign of dental problems." Dr. Bellows suggests that you "check your dog or cat's gums by simply opening its mouth and looking at his or her teeth and gums. Bad breath, red and swollen gums, a yellow or brown crust of tartar around the gum line and pain or bleeding when you touch the gum are all signs that your pet could have gum disease and should be taken to your veterinarian as soon as possible."

Dr. Bellows, author of The Practice of Veterinary Dentistry: A Team Effort, and Small Animal Dental Equipment, Materials and Techniques: A Primer, also warns that dogs and especially cats may be affected by decreased tooth substance called tooth resorption. External resorption starts from the outside of the tooth and progresses inward. Internal resorption begins at the pulp (nerve) and progresses outward. Greater than half of the cats older than five years have at least one painful tooth resorption.

In addition to regular veterinary checkups, Dr. Bellows says there are things you can do at home to make sure your pet's teeth stay clean and healthy:

  •     Regularly brush your dog or cat's teeth. Special pet toothbrushes are available at local pet supply stores. You can also use a sensitive care or ultra-soft human toothbrush
  •     Do NOT use human toothpaste as it can upset your pet's stomach. Special pet toothpaste is available from your vet or local pet supply store
  •     Visit VOHC.com for approved products to decrease plaque and calculus
  •     There are water additives for your pet's food that can cut down on plaque and tartar build up.
  •     Keep table scraps down to a minimum as they aid in the buildup of plaque and tartar

Talk with your veterinarian about developing a dental health regimen for your pet. Pet owners can go to http://www.MyPetCareTV.com and post more questions and suggestions, and can reach Dr. Bellows. Once there, pet owners can access The Smile Book V, The Oral Assessment, Treatment and Prevention Visit by Dr. Bellows. This guide will give you all the information you need to discuss pet dental health with your veterinarian.

http://www.MyPetCareTV.com brings pet-owners and veterinarians together in an all-in-one free online resource. With features from social networking to health advice from peers and professionals, MyPetCareTV.com is Facebook for pets, inviting owners to be a friend to their pet and find community for themselves. Membership is free.

ABOUT DR. JAN BELLOWS

Dr. Bellows graduated from Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, a Fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, and a Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College. He has lectured extensively in the U.S. and Europe. As the author of many articles and two books, Dr. Bellows practices at All Pets Dental in Weston, Florida. For additonal information on dental care for pets visit
http://www.OralATP.com and http://www.Dentalvet.com.

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