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If you knew you could prevent your pet from experiencing pain, wouldn’t you do it?  You may not be able to prevent all things, but you can keep your beloved pet from experiencing the pain and devastating effects of periodontal disease.  The American Veterinary Dental College reports that most cats and dogs show signs of dental disease by the time they are three years old.  Three!  Many people don’t realize that, just like humans, pets’ teeth need to be cleaned.  Poor oral hygiene can result in bad breath, tooth loss, damage to gums and bone, and ultimately diseases of the heart, liver, and kidneys. 

The good news is many health problems are entirely preventable with a minimal time investment.  www.vetstreet.com lists five ways to stay on top of Fido and Fluffy’s dental health.
First and foremost, be aware of changes in your pet’s appearance or behaviors.  Bad breath, hesitation to eat hard food, and pawing at the mouth, are all signs something may be wrong.
Second, invest in a pet friendly toothbrush and paste.  It’s easiest to train your furry friend from a young age, but any pet can learn to accept a brushing, it just takes a bit of patience. 
Third, and perhaps the favorite of all our four-legged friends, treats!  There are many treats designed with oral hygiene in mind. The Veterinary Oral Health Council maintains lists of which treats are best to fight plaque and tartar and keep those pearly whites.
 
Fourth, talk to your veterinarian, and get a dental exam.  This quick and painless procedure will alert you to any potential problems, so they can be dealt with before they become health-threatening.
Fifth, and finally, do not be afraid to take your buddy in for a complete dental cleaning.  This may involve sedation, but the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Your pets may not know how important dental hygiene is, but now you do, so do them a favor and implement preventive treatments today!