Did you know that spending three minutes brushing your pet’s teeth can improve his or her quality of life?

It’s true.

Brushing your pet’s teeth may be one of the most important and easiest things you can do at home to safeguard his or her health. Without it, bacteria, tartar and plaque pile onto teeth. The first symptom of illness may be bad breath, which evolves to periodontal (gum) disease. Left untreated, bacteria in the mouth get into the bloodstream and can affect overall health.

“The constant showering of bacteria into the blood stream can affect liver, kidneys, joints and the heart,” said Sara Sharp, CVT, secretary of Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians.

Fortunately, you can help protect your pet with daily tooth brushing. It is surprisingly easy to learn — and many pets enjoy the experience once they get used to it.

“I have a cat that actually brings me her toothbrush,” said Kate Knutson, DVM, of Pet Crossing Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic in Minneapolis, MN. “She lives to have her teeth brushed.”

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