February is National Pet Dental Health Month. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, one of the most common problems veterinarians see is dental disease. Up to 80% of dogs show signs of oral disease by age three.
Here are some signs that your dog may have a problem:
- Red swollen gums and brownish teeth
- Bad breath—more than just typical puppy breath
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Frequent pawing or rubbing at the face and/or mouth
- Reluctance to eat hard foods—for example, picking it up and then spitting it out
Poor oral hygiene can lead to inflammation of the gums or periodontitis. There are links between periodontal disease and damage to kidneys and liver. According to the veterinarian association, healthy gums and teeth can add two to five years to the life of a dog.
Read 10 tips for dog dental health from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Watch this video about how to brush a dog’s teeth.