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Video: Don't forget about your pet's oral health

Monday, Feb. 10, 2014



MANHATTAN -- It's time to brush up on your pet's dental health care.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets by age 3, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Marjory Artzer, assistant professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University's Veterinary Health Center, says annual dental exams and regularly brushing your pet's teeth is the best way to prevent periodontal disease.

If you are worried about your ability to brush your pet's teeth, Artzer suggests starting slow.

"Don't think just because you can pick up a toothbrush, you're going to be great right off the bat," Artzer said. "You need to acclimate yourself and your pet to getting used to the toothbrush and toothpaste."

Start by putting toothpaste created for pets on your finger or a washcloth and wiping the animal's teeth. Then work your way up to a toothbrush. Make sure brushing their teeth goes along with something that makes their tail wag.

"I would encourage people to couple it with something their pet enjoys so if they like to get their teeth brushed, they can brush their teeth and then brush their hair," Artzer said. "If they like to play ball, you can brush their teeth then play ball. You can give them a little treat so pets are rewarded for allowing you to brush their teeth."

Regular dental care is about more than just a shiny smile. Being familiar with your pet's mouth helps you find other potential concerns.

"It's not uncommon for pets to have broken teeth, masses in their mouths, or other things that you might not be aware of unless you are looking in their mouth," Artzer said. "Brushing their teeth is a good way to be familiar with what's going on in their mouth."

The Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center provides comprehensive oral assessments and cleanings. For more information, contact the center at 785-532-5700.

photo credit: Daniele Nicolucci photography via photopincc

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Written by

Lindsey Elliott

At a glance

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. A KSU veterinarian gives tips for brushing your furry friend's teeth.