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Show us your pearly whites

February is Dental Health Month – schedule a trip to your veterinarian

Did you know an adult cat has 30 teeth to keep clean?

By the age of three, 7 in 10 cats already show signs of dental disease, and it may be our fault. (American Veterinary Dental Society) 

Dog food and treats are designed so the act of crunching and chewing helps clean the plaque and yuckies off teeth. Cat food does not share in that design. The kibble is relatively small, making it easier for cats to swallow rather than crunch.

When it comes right down to it, most of us don’t brush our pet’s teeth. So plaque builds up and combines with pieces of food. If not removed, plaque can mineralize in about four days and form tarter or calculus. From there, gingivitis and periodontal disease can develop, leading to things worse than feline bad breath.

“Pet owners don’t realize the importance of dental health,” says Dr. Melinda Barkley, Medical Director at the Cat Adoption Team. “Every week, just over 10 percent of the cats who are surrendered to our shelter have some sort of dental issue.”

In fact, 85 percent of pets have periodontal disease by age four according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Not to be apocalyptic, but neglecting your pet’s dental health may put Fido or Fluffy at risk for diabetes, stroke, or even kidney disease. Bad teeth can abscess, causing bacteria to enter the blood and in turn cause an infection of the heart or other organ. All from a dirty mouth!

We go to the dentist twice a year for more than the free tooth brush. Dentist can be the key to preventing some pretty awful issues with our overall health. The same is true with your pet’s veterinary. Prevention is the key.

So when your vet suggests the need for a dental cleaning, ask questions and schedule the appointment. It could be the key to your pet’s long, healthy life.

For more information about pet dental health, go to

View how-to-videos for cleaning your cat’s teeth as well as other other grate information about pet dental health.

Our Cat’s Meow Blogger shared her cat’s dental visit - read more.

by Kathy Covey


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