Sorry, cannot display the section at this time.

Spokesdog's Canine Couch

A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich

  • Comments

February is National Pet Dental Month

February 8th, 2013 at Fri, 8th, 2013 at 5:10 pm by Diane Rich

c Diane Rich 2013 (oversized toothbrush is a prop for this photo)


National Pet Dental Month is in February, and the veterinarians of VCA West Los Angeles give advice as to why dental care is critical to your pet’s overall health
LOS ANGELES – February is National Pet Dental Month, and the veterinarians of VCA West Los Angeles share their tips, facts, and advice for caring for your pet’s dental health. Oral care is critical for your pet’s overall health and happiness, so here are 10 tips to maintain proper care:
1. Pets have a remarkable ability to hide dental pain; their desire to eat far outweighs pain they may have in their mouths and thus, we can’t easily tell if they have a toothache or pain from an abscess. -J.J. Rawlison, DVM
2. Brush your pet’s teeth as often as possible and use an oral rinse to rub on gums. Additionally, get your pet’s teeth examined professionally every six to 12 months.-Robert Rizzitano, DVM
3. Oral cancers are one of the most common forms of cancer that can occur in cats and dogs. Regular veterinary oral exams and proper dental care can catch cancer early and potentially allow for a cure or at the very least an opportunity to treat the disease. -J.J. Rawlison, DVM
4. Dental disease in some situations can lead to life threatening infections of the pet’s blood and heart. Maintaining proper dental health is critical for older pets and pets with concurrent diseases that may alter their immune defenses. -Johnny Chretin, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
5. Small and toy breed dogs, especially those fed a soft food diet exclusively, are at increased risk for dental disease and should have their teeth examined more frequently. -Jason W. Rabe, DVM6. Severe periodontal disease can lead to an infection that is severe enough to weaken the jawbone, causing it to break, which can be very painful and difficult to treat. -J.J. Rawlison, DVM

7. Dogs have 42 teeth and cats have 30, while humans have 28 (without wisdom teeth). So, that’s 14 more teeth for dogs and two more teeth for cats that can develop problems. -J.J. Rawlison, DVM

8. Monitor your pet’s breath; bad breath typically means there is a dental health issue. -Robert Rizzitano, DVM

9. Use the “kneecap rule” when deciding what is safe to feed dogs in terms of chew toys. If you wouldn’t want someone to hit you in the kneecap with it, it is not safe for your pet’s teeth. -J.J. Rawlison, DVM


10. A full dental cleaning under anesthesia is the only way to thoroughly clean each tooth above and below the gum line, evaluate the pet for periodontal disease, and polish the teeth after the cleaning. Non-aesthetic dentals, while less expensive and free from the risk of anesthesia, are less effective and carry their own risks with a conscious and mobile dog, especially when carried out by non-veterinarian professionals. -Jason W. Rabe, DVM

VCA West Los Angeles

Pearly White Woofs
Diane Rich Dog Training, LLC

I have been training dogs and their people for over 25 years. I work with pups from 7 weeks old to senior plus dogs and offer basic obedience to advanced off leash training both privately and group classes. Other services include behavior consultations to help both ends of the leash with everything from aggression, puppy/dog manners and public manners to separation anxiety. As a "real world" dog trainer, I take training out of the classroom or home when both the pet and family are ready, and take training to the street. I also offer pet therapy training classes preparing both the handler and dog for their therapy test and future service as a therapy team. I also coordinate several pet therapy programs in the Seattle area. My complete bio, description of services, class dates and on line class registration is listed on my website at

More articles by  >
ABOUT COMMUNITY BLOGS: Community blogs are written by volunteers. They are members of our community but not employees of this site or newspaper. They have applied or were invited to blog here but their words are their own and are not edited by the editor or staff of this site, and have agreed to abide by our Terms of Use. The authors are solely responsible for their content. If you have concerns about something you read on a community blog, please contact the author directly or email us.

COMMENTING RULES: We encourage an open exchange of ideas in the community, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. In a nutshell, don't say anything you wouldn't want your mother to read.

So keep your comments:

  • Civil
  • Smart
  • On-topic
  • Free of profanity

We ask that all participants own their words by logging in with their Facebook account. It's a simple process that will take seconds and helps keep our comments free of trolls, cranks, and “drive-by” commenters. We reserve the right to remove comments from anyone using screen names, pseudonyms or false identities. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.