Resolve to do Something Good for Your Pet in 2010

If you are short on New Year's resolutions I have a humble suggestion. This resolution will have a dramatic impact on your pet's health, well...

If you are short on New Year’s resolutions I have a humble suggestion.

This resolution will have a dramatic impact on your pet’s health, well being, and longevity. In the long run this resolution will make your bank account much larger as well. The resolution is something that almost anyone can do, but almost nobody does.

Resolve to brush your pet’s teeth each day.

The overwhelming majority of dogs will allow their owners to brush their teeth. A surprisingly large number of cats also tolerate tooth brushing.

Tooth brushing is by far the best way to prevent or delay dental disease. Dental disease causes pain, bad breath and tooth loss. Dental disease has been linked to diabetes, cancer, behavior changes, a variety of infections in the body, heart disease, autoimmune disease, arthritis and diseases of the spine.

Brushing your pet’s teeth will save you money by reducing or eliminating your pet’s need for professional dental work. It also will make your pet’s breath noticeably less offensive. Because cats groom their hair with their tongues, tooth brushing may help your cat’s coat to look and smell (and be) cleaner.

Tooth brushing is most effective in the absence of pre-existing dental disease. Have your vet check your pet to determine whether any professional dental work should be done.

It should go without saying that care should be taken not to get bitten while brushing your pet’s teeth. If your pet is nippy or does not tolerate having his mouth handled it may not be possible to brush his teeth. However, when a responsible adult is in charge of tooth brushing most pets tolerate the procedure.

I recognize that brushing a pet’s teeth is inconvenient. Very few people do it, including people who should know better. Recently I was working at a veterinary hospital and the other employees were stunned to learn that I brush my pal Buster’s teeth.

Inconvenient though tooth brushing may be, in the long run it’s worth it.

Photo: I’ll bet Casey has good breath!

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