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Your Pet's Stinky Kisses Might Mean Trouble With Their Teeth

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By Ana Bustilloz/Special to LAist

February is Pet Dental Health Month. Proper dental care for pets is essential for their overall well-being and health. Smelly breath in pets, just like in humans, may be a sign that something unhealthful is afoot. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), "veterinarians report that periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed problem in dogs and cats.” Besides stinky kisses, look for red, swollen or bleeding gums, excessive drooling or difficulty eating hard foods. Periodontal disease is painful to your pets and left untreated can be life-threatening.

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is with a check-up or teeth cleaning by your vet and by regularly brushing your pet's teeth. Take advantage of Pet Dental Health Month, when most vets offer a special on dental exams or teeth cleaning. The Center Sinai Animal Hospital is holding Super Saver Dental Clinics on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The West Hills Animal Hospital is offering 30% off all dentals.

Brushing your pet's teeth may sound wacky, but adding this to your pet's routine will help remove plaque and slow tartar growth. First get the right supplies which can be found at almost any pet store. Never use human toothbrushes or toothpaste. The spcaLA Marketplace in Long Beach sells finger brushes (this month buy one pack get one free) and mint or poultry flavored toothpaste. If you need a little guidance on the how-to’s of brushing your pets teeth, take a gander at this instructional video.