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Pets have teeth, too -- so clean them

dog
Pets, like their owners, require dental care  
February 10, 1999
Web posted at: 5:49 p.m. EST (2249 GMT)

GREENVILLE, Mississippi (CNN) -- Brushing, flossing and a regular visit to the dentist for teeth cleaning isn't just for people. Dogs and cats need it, too, as the pet industry reminds us every February when National Pet Dental Health Month rolls around.

Just like with their owners, a pet with poor oral health can develop even more serious health problems.

For example, the buildup of plaque and tartar in a pet's mouth can cause periodontal disease, an infection that can spread through the bloodstream to the heart, liver and kidneys.

Dr. Richard Griffin, a veterinarian in Greenville, Mississippi, recommends a three-step approach to pet dental care:

Kitty
It may not be the cat's meow, but regular dental care helps keep pets healthy  
  • Adequate hard food in the animal's diet to help keep bacteria from growing.
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  • If the pet will tolerate it, brush its teeth on a regular basis at home. Some pet toothpastes are available in food flavors. Chicken, for example.

  • Have the pet's teeth professionally cleaned once a year.

    People who don't pay attention to their teeth may lose them. The same can happen to pets, too.

    CNN affiliate WABG contributed to this report.


    RELATED SITES:
    Animal Health Information
    Pets Need Dental Care, Too
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