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      Importance of dental care for pets

      February is National Pet Dental Month, and veterinarians say there are affordable, easy home care items any owner can use for their pet.

      Both cats and dogs can get dental disease. Cats have more issues with things like tooth resorption, while dogs have more periodontal disease, which is an infection of gums with bacteria.

      Some easy home care items include foods and treats designed to help scrub the pets' tooth surface.

      Dr. Marlene Mackie said pet owners should brush their dog or cat's teeth at least three times a week.

      "People really can prevent a lot of this disease by doing home care," said Mackie. "And if we do a professional teeth clean and polish, it's always recommended that the animal be put under general anesthesia rather than just sedation or hand-cleaning without anesthesia. It's not a good idea."

      It's recommended for dogs with stage one periodontal disease to undergo a teeth cleaning.