Community Puppy Dog Tails — 14 February 2011
It was all smiles til I went for a kiss

I was recently on a date with a very handsome fellow. We met at his house for dinner and a movie and the evening was off to a wonderful start. Apart from being a world-class snuggler, my date was a total gentleman. He allowed me to choose the movie and didnt bark when I suggested a foreign film. He didnt judge me when I gobbled up everything on my plate and asked for seconds. He didnt even mind when I spoke during the movie; if anything, he seemed fascinated by all that I had to say. He was a keeper, this one, that is, until he went in for a kiss.

Turbo, a sweet pit bull mix and my date for the evening, had a serious case of doggy breath. But this was more than the usual ick. This was disgusting!

Because we had already had dessert, I decided to take a peek into Turbos smelly smile to see just how bad his teeth looked. Not surprisingly, Turbos teeth were a mess. He had serious tartar build-up and his gum line reeked of neglect.

I disapprovingly asked my friend how often he brushes Turbos teeth. His response was as expected: he didnt know and could not remember the last time he had completed tooth duty. Turbos teeth were clearly not getting the attention they deserved and my friend had simply accepted his best friends stinky face as part of the package. He had just learned to back away every time Turbo yawned or tried to lick him just in time to avoid stink-to-nose contact.

Many pet parents have accepted bad breath as a necessary evil but youre missing the point if you think the stench is the only matter for concern. Were not talking about fancy cheese here, people. Were talking about a pungent smell that indicates a serious problem that will only become more severe and possibly very expensive if ignored. 

As with humans, the health of your pets teeth affects their overall well-being. A combination of professional dental care and a regular at-home routine will help your pet enjoy a longer, healthier life. And, although brushing your pet’s teeth at least twice a week is recommended to prevent dental disease, any amount of brushing is better than nothing. 

Im not telling you that I brush my dogs teeth every day, or even every week for that matter. But, I refuse to develop a tolerance for stinky breath just because Im too lazy to put a little effort into my pets smile. Make an effort to keep up with your pets dental hygiene, as you would with their feeding, grooming, training and exercise. And, at the very minimum, brush your dogs teeth when youre expecting company. There is nothing worse than a surprise kiss that smells like tuna fish and cabbage.

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Alexandria Times Staff

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