Bad breath and cosmetics aren't the only reasons that dental health is important for your dog, though. Bad teeth and gums can lead to heart disease, and if your dogs' mouth is hurting, he's not going to eat as well. One of the few times, and the worst time, that I was ever bitten by a dog was a sweet little Greyhound who'd been returned by her adopters. They hadn't taken care of her teeth at all and she had a horrible tooth infection. When I touched her neck, it was so painful that she turned and bit me. I saw her again after her treatment and she was absolutely the sweetest little lovebug imaginable. I can't begin to imagine what kind of pain she'd been in.
There are a lot of ways to combat tooth problems in your dog. Daily tooth brushing helps a lot. We were recently given Science Diet T/D for Blueberry, and while it's too expensive for me to feed four dogs for each meal, it does make a good treat and our dogs are crazy over it. We also use CET mouthwash that we got from our vet. When I notice some tartar buildup, I do some teeth scaling on our dogs who will let me do it.
Another good way to keep dogs' teeth clean is to give them things to chew, either toys, bones or dental treats. Our dogs love Greenies and if I would give them one every day, they'd eat one every day. It's several minutes of silence here when all four of them have their Greenies because everybody is busy concentrating on their treat.
February is National Pet Dental Health Month. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) is a group like the ADA (American Dental Association) that is applied to pet products. While there are a lot of products that claim to be good for your pet's dental health, not all of them are VOHC approved. The fact that the VOHC even existed was news to me, but it's nice to know that there are people out there overseeing pet products. They actually do research and testing to see that these products are effective in the breakdown of plaque and tartar.
There's a campaign by Greenies and the American Animal Health Association to help fund veterinary dental services for needy pets through the Helping Pets Fund. The fund makes a wide range of veterinary services available to pets that have been abandoned or whose families can't afford them. We have chosen to help, and you can as well, if you are so motivated. There are several ways that you can help and get Greenies to contribute to the Helping Pets Fund.
· For every blog post written about VOHC, The GREENIES® Brand will donate $25 to the AAHA Helping Pet’s Fund
· For every use of #VOHC on Twitter (either through an original post or a re-tweet), The GREENIES® Brand will donate $1 to the AAHA Helping Pet’s Fund.
· For every new “like” of the GREENIES® Facebook fan page from February 17— , The GREENIES® Brand will donate $1 to the AAHA Helping Pet’s Fund.
Whether you choose to participate in the campaign or not, I do hope that you will at least take a few minutes to think about your own pets' dental health after you read this. Your dog may not appreciate having his or her teeth brushed, but leaving them at the vet's office to worry about them all day while they have a dental is worse. Aside from that, fresh dog breath is a lot more pleasant to smell right before your dog plants a big sloppy kiss on you.