Doggie Dental Health

Oscar after trying to pull the fence down

February is Pet Dental Awareness month, which I sort of knew. The dental health of my pets is one of those things that I care about, but try to put out of my mind. It is like paying taxes, something I know I need to take care of and something that will never go away, but also something that is unpleasant and that I lack a lot of knowledge about. When I took Oscar for his routine physical earlier this month, the vet brought up the subject of his dental health.

I’m not an expert, but the vet emphasized that poor dental health can lead to heart and kidney problems as well as infections. Last year, Oscar had to have emergency dental surgery when he tried to pull the chain-link fence down with his teeth. He chipped a big chunk of his canine off and I was worried, but fortunately he didn’t expose the nerve and the vet said it was fine as it was. Unfortunately, Oscar needed three other teeth pulled due to crowding that had formed a second row of teeth on his bottom jaw. Since then plaque has taken up residence on his teeth with a vengeance.

Romeo, one of my favorite cats, mentioned a contest going on to promote dental health awareness, raise money for pets in need, and let people know that not all dental treats are created equally. Romeo says:

while there are tons of dental treats that claim to clean teeth, not all of them are proven to work. Fortunately, there’s an entity administered by the American Veterinary Dental College called the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). Through clinical research and review, the VOHC determines which products on the market are effective to help prevent buildup of plaque and tartar. GREENIES® is one of those products.

Unfortunately for Oscar, I’ve been unable to find any dental treats with or without the seal of approval that he can eat with his food restrictions. Both of my dogs are allergic to rice and potatoes, which are almost always used as the starch in biscuit treats and are a staple in greenies. They are also allergic to beef, so no rawhides (which they don’t like to chew much anyhow).

So for my two little canines, it is tooth brushing and dental vet visits for both of them.

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