February is National Pet Dental Health Month to increase the pet owners awareness that a pet’s bad breath could signify a potentially serious dental or oral disease that could pose a health risk to the animal’s internal organs.

According to the professionals at Mountain Park Animal Hospital, a dog’s teeth should be checked and cleaned once a year if they are under the age of 7, and twice a year if they are over the age of 7.

The American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS) reports that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of oral or dental disease by age 3. Daily brushing of the pet’s teeth, with special soft tooth brush and toothpaste developed especially for pets, is recommended.

There are also many chews and treats on the market now that are formulated to reduce plaque and tartar.

The signs of possible gum and dental issues include: bad breath, loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar, abnormal drooling, dropping food from the mouth or swallowing food whole, bleeding from the mouth, sensitivity in the mouth area, and loss of appetite or other changes in eating or chewing habits.

Many local vet clinics will be offering special discounts on dental services during the month of February.