Love Your Pet’s Teeth on Valentine’s Day

For this Valentine’s special edition to the Second Chance Pet Column I thought about writing about love and flowers and chocolate – but then I became so bored thinking about it I rolled right off my bed and fell into my litter box. Don’t get me wrong – I adore love and all that but I want to write about something with more teeth in it. So I decided to write about teeth…

Yes, aside from February being the most polarizing holiday month of the year (you people either love Valentine’s day or hate it), it also is nationally recognized for other important things (gasp! more important than cupid?!?!) like Walking the Dog Day (Feb 22nd), World Spay Day (Feb 27th) and Pet Dental Health Month.

Contrary to popular belief, “doggie breath” is not normal. Dental/gum disease occurs five times as often in pets as it does in people and affects up to 80% of pets over the age of three, and just like humans, there can be serious results.

Infected gums and teeth aren't just a problem in the mouth -- the heart, kidneys, intestinal tract, and joints may also be infected. The tartar and any infected areas of the mouth contain a multitude of bacteria that can 'seed' to other parts of the body. With regular dental care, you can prevent some of these more serious side effects for your pet.

As with our human friends, preventative dental care starts early (as in new puppy or kitten early) so talk to your veterinarian on how to initiate a good dental care program, that includes gum care, at home. Starting when your pets are young can also help to identify retained teeth (which can become a problem if not treated) and bad bite problems.

If your pet is an adult over 3 years of age, it is recommended by the American Veterinary Association to schedule a dental check up with your veterinarian. Most veterinarians are happy to provide brushing lessons, and many carry brushes and toothpaste specifically for dogs and cats. (NOTE: do not use human toothpaste on your pet!)

And now for a brief Valentine-themed epilogue…

Have you been looking for love in all the wrong places? Clearly the answer is yes as we have yet to meet. Don’t spend another Valentine’s Day pining over lost or undiscovered love. Rather, come down to Second Chance Humane Society to meet the love of your life. Adopted love always lasts longer than a box of chocolates and won’t make you feel fat….

My name is Josephine and I am a beautiful 3.5 year young black and white tuxedo girl that gets along well with other cats. I adore love and sharing it with others. In fact this was initially the beginning of my column that was rejected by my editor: “I love people, I love people that pet me, I love people that play with me, I love people that give me treats, I love people that…” Yeah, you get the picture. Be my Valentine.

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at

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