Why it's important to give Fido a teeth cleaning

TAMPA, Fla. - Did you know 85 percent of cats and dogs show signs of dental disease by the age of four? Here are some warning signs of pet dental disease.

1.       Bad breath

2.       Tartar buildup on the teeth

3.       Swollen, receding or bleeding gums

4.       Fractured or abscessed teeth

5.       Change in eating habits

Many people don’t think of brushing their pet’s teeth, but Tampa vet, Melissa Webster, said that’s exactly what pet owners should be doing.

“Tooth brushing is probably the best thing you can do to help your pet with plaque,” said Webster.

She said part of the reason why pets get dental disease is due to “people food.”

“A lot of pets are inoculated with bacteria because people take a bite of a cracker and feed the other half to the dog,” said Webster.

Brushing your pet’s teeth isn’t something that comes naturally to them, so take your time.

“You may just have to start with a little bit of toothpaste on the front and then giving him a treat," said Webster.  "He doesn’t know any better and he’s trying to figure out what we want from him."

The entire process may take them a month to learn, but Webster said to stick with it.

The Tampa Veterinary Hospital is offering a discount on teeth cleanings through March.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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