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Tips To Protect Your Pets' Pearly Whites

Lulu provides a few tips to help celebrate Pet Dental Health Month.

Did you know that February is Pet Dental Health Month?

Mom celebrates by stuffing her face with candy hearts and chocolate bonbons, while chasing me around the house with a toothbrush. Human behavior remains a mystery to me, but I do realize that good dental hygiene is essential. Dog breath simply is not cute on anyone, whether you have two legs or four. Left unchecked, tartar buildup can lead to gum disease, costly extractions and other health issues.

With that in mind, here are a few of Lulu’s Life Lessons for protecting those pearly whites.

1. Brush regularly.
Pet stores stock plenty of toothbrushes and pet toothpaste made especially for pets, but a damp cloth does the trick just as well. Focus on cleaning exterior surfaces at least three times a week. Daily would be best, but my Mom barely flosses her own teeth so I won’t expect miracles. I also recommend that you introduce daily brushing at an early age. If you have an older pet, treats make the process a bit more tolerable. Even if they resist, remember that good dental care will reduce the number and cost of veterinary dental procedures. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Also, avoid toothpaste made for humans. It can be harmful to pets; and we can’t spit that stuff out. Mom uses a yummy peanut butter-flavored dog paste because she loves me.

2. Stock up on chew toys so we don’t create our own.
Mom calls me a “power chewer,” which means that it takes me less than 15 minutes to turn leather shoes into confetti. Fortunately, I don’t have to search for shoes. Nylabone chew toys keep my pearly whites shiny and clean. If you prefer greener options, pet stops like Wag-A-Lot and Park Pet Supply sell deer antlers that also make yummy, durable chew toys.

While I’m still young at heart, it’s good to know that pet-loving companies like Planet Dog have designed gear for older pets. The “Old Soul” line caters to elderly dogs with brittle teeth or reduced gnawing skills. Be sure to monitor pets while they play with chew toys that could present a choking hazard. 

3. Remove the temptations.
Dogs want people food. If it’s food we shouldn’t have, then we want it really, really bad. I not to steal food from Mom’s nephew this year. (One month down, eleven to go!) But I cannot be responsible for my actions once food hits the floor. Keep your Valentine’s Day candy and chocolates way out of paws’ reach this month and every month. Bookmark the ASPCA’s poison control site, and keep the hotline number (888-426-4435) handy, just in case. You never know when a slice of strawberry cake will fall on the floor, accidentally, of course.

4. Get those teeth checked.
Many local veterinarians offer deep discounts on dental cleaning services during Pet Dental Health month. Kick-start your pet's dental health routine by scheduling an appointment today.

Enjoy a fabulous February, and check out a few pet-related events sprouting around our Patch.

Upcoming pet events:
February 1-29: Free spay/neuter for pit bulls and pit mixes.
With financial support from the Humane Society of the United States, Lifeline Animal Project will fix pits and pit mixes for free. If you have visited any local animal shelter, it’s painfully clear that pit bulls of all shapes sizes and colors have a hard time getting adopted. Spaying and neutering is one important step toward reducing the number seeking forever homes. Spaces are limited so download a voucher, then call to schedule your appointment at Lifeline. Avondale: 129 Lake Street, Avondale Estates, Ga. 30002, 404-292-8800. College Park: 2533 Sullivan Road, College Park, Ga. 30337, 678-973-2881. Website: www.atlantapets.org/spay-neuter.

Feb. 4: Free shot clinic. The Humane Society of the United States has launched a “Pets for Life” program in Atlanta, celebrating the powerful bond between people and their pets. Services include free obedience training as well as a rabies vaccinations clinic for cats and dogs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Arrive early because supplies are limited. 809 Hollywood Road, Atlanta, Ga. 30318.

Feb. 11-18: Adopt-A-Sweetheart Adoption Event. Want unconditional love this Valentine’s Day? Fulton County Animal Services offer steep discounts on pet adoptions during its month-long adoption event. Dogs are $50 and you can adopt two cats for $65. Evert pet has been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. 860 Marietta Blvd. NW, Atlanta, Ga. 30318. 404-613-0358. Website: bhvf.org. 

Feb. 18: Bully Ball. As you may have guessed, I’m pretty partial to the bully breeds. English bulldogs also hold a special place in the heart of most Georgians, which is why the third-annual Bully Ball should be a blast. Former NFL coach Dan Reeves is the event chair, and festivities include casino games benefitting rescue organizations such as the awesome Georgia English Bulldog Rescue. The event begins at 6 p.m., Feb. 18 at 103 West, 103 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, Ga. Tickets are $160.

Feb. 25: Warm Hearts and Cold Noses Gala. When Mom is sick, the only thing that truly cures is cuddle time with me on the couch. Who can blame her? Volunteers from Happy Tails Pet Therapy understand the power of a pet’s touch. Each month, pets offer TLC at more than 100 healthcare facilities, social agencies and special needs programs. Their fund-raising gala begins at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 25 at the Perimeter Center Marriott, 246 Perimeter Center Parkway NE, Atlanta, Ga. 30346. Tickets for nonmembers are $80 or $150 for a couple.

Have a pet event you want to share with Lulu? E-mail us today?

Therra C. Gwyn February 01, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Great tips and events. I will tweet this!
Brandy Smith, LPC February 03, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Hey Lulu--don't forget about the Unchain My Heart Valentine's Fundraiser on February 12 at the Midway Pub. The goal is to raise funds to help educate owners and unchain dogs. If you and your human are interested, more information is available on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/342801335738142/

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