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Keep Those Pearly Canines On Your Canine Shining Bright! February is National Pet Dental Health Month

North Shore Animal League America Pet Experts Offer Dental Hygiene Guidelines & Tips For Your Pets

Press Contacts

Media & Communications Department
Phone: (516) 883-7900, Ext. 482
Mobile: (516) 528-7878

February 4, 2013 (Port Washington, NY) – Dental Health is as vital to your pet’s total well-being as proper nutrition and exercise. Pet lovers who are dedicate to the care and life-long wellbeing of their pets should include dental hygiene in their animals’ regular health and wellness routine. 

“It’s an animal owner’s obligation to ensure its safety at all times, this includes routine health and dental examinations. Good dental hygiene can add years to your pet’s life,” advises Mark Verdino, Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff.
Animal League America offers these tips and guidelines:

1. Dental Disease – Poor dental hygiene can cause dental disease. Dental disease creates bacteria in the mouth and can cause oral pain, halitosis, tooth loss, periodontal disease and even affect the heart and kidneys, intestinal tract and joints. Also, a pet in dental pain is not a happy pet and the pain can affect their ability to eat.

2. Oral Disease – If you are animal exhibits any of the below symptoms they should be checked by a veterinarian:

• Bad Breath
• Inflamed Gums
• Loose Teeth
• Excessive Drooling
• Cysts Under the Tongue
• Tumors in the Gums

3. Tooth Decay – Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause tartar build up on a dog’s teeth, possibly causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss.   Solution – regular teeth cleanings!

4. Lip Checks – While you dog is facing you, lift his lips, and examine his gums and teeth. A healthy canines gums should be pink, not white or red, and there should be no signs of swelling.

5. Diet – Make sure to consult with your veterinarian about specifics foods that can slow down the formation of plaque and tartar.  Avoid feeding your dog table food and give him treats that will keep his canine teeth healthy.

6. Toys – Ask your vet to recommend nylon and rubber chew toys. Chewing on a chew toy will help massage your canine’s gums and scrap away soft tartar, while making his teeth strong.

7. Brushing – It is important to brush your pet’s teeth as early as possible. When their adult teeth are in, about 6-9 months old, it is the best time to start a tooth-brushing regimen. For proper brushing technique place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and clean in small, circular motions. Work on one area of you dog’s mouth at a time, lifting the lips as necessary. The side of the tooth that touches the cheek usually has the most tartar, and giving a final downward stroke can help to remove it. Try brushing two to three times a week.

8. Dental Products – avoid dental products containing xylitol, as it is highly toxic to dogs. NEVER use human toothpaste to clean pets’ teeth and gums. Use dog  formulated tooth paste or a paste of baking soda and water.

9.  Schedule Check-Ups – Your pet should have annual dental check-ups by his/her veterinarian Good dental hygiene can add year’s to your pet’s life.

North Shore Animal League America - Home of the Mutt-i-gree® - headquartered in Port Washington, NY, is the largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization in the world. The Animal League reaches across the country to rescue, nurture and adopt 20,000 pets into happy and loving homes each year. Over the past decade, the Animal League saved over 200,000 lives and has saved 1,000,000 animals since its inception. “Like” us at, follow us at To learn more about animal rescue and welfare, visit

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