February Pet Holidays: Smile for Pet Dental Health Month!
It’s Pet Dental Health Month and so it’s probably fitting that the 23rd is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. February is also a month for remembering that pet overpopulation is a major concern that condemns millions of cats and dogs each year to shelters where they spend their lives caged and alone … if they’re not simply euthanized. Responsible Pet Owner Month and World Spay Day (Feb. 28) are just two of this month’s reminders.
Pet Dental Health Month (AVMA)
Periodontal disease is the most common ailment in pets, with 80% dogs and 70% of cats being affected by the age of three. It causes bad breath, which is bad enough, but that’s only the beginning. Receding gums, infection and loss of the bone material that supports the teeth, and tooth loss or even fractured jaws come next. Finally, disease expands beyond the mouth as bacteria spread through the blood stream to affect a cat’s or dog’s kidney, liver, heart, and other internal organs.
Despite being so common, periodontal disease is completely preventable. Pet toothpaste and brushes are readily available at pet stores and from vets. While daily brushing may be the “gold standard” for pet dental health, a wide variety of toys and treats are available that keep teeth clean every day; rope chew toys for dogs act as a kind of dental floss, for instance.
And just like humans need regular dentist checkups no matter how much you brush your teeth, an oral hygiene checkup should be part of every visit to the vet, with regular deep cleanings part of your pet’s health care routine.
Resources from the American Veterinary Medical Association
How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth (video)
Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month
PetFinder: “10 Reasons Rescued Rabbits Rule”
National Prevent a Litter Month (various organizations)
Spay & Neuter Awareness Month (The Humane Society of the United States)
Responsible Pet Owner’s Month
A month to remember to spay and neuter our pets, get vet checkups, and keep our houses pet-safe.
Dog Training Education Month (Dog Training Central)
Every day of the month, plan to perform one dog training activity with your dog. Dog Training Central provides an example schedule, but you can customize it based on your specific dog’s skills and abilities.
Feb. 19-25: National Justice for Animals Week (last full week; Animal Legal Defense Fund)
14: Pet Theft Awareness Day (Last Chance for Animals)
22: National Walking the Dog Day
No one is clear when this holiday started, but the first dog biscuits were developed in the mid-19th century by American manufacturer James Spratt. Spratt got the idea after visiting Liverpool in England, where he observed stray dogs at the port hungrily digging into ship’s biscuits. The first Spratts biscuits were produced in London, with a secret recipe including both meat and vegetables.
28: World Spay Day (last Tuesday; The Humane Society of the United States)