SAN DIEGO/PRNewswire/ -- Pet parents love showing off their fur child, filling Facebook and Instagram feeds with pet photos. However, nothing ruins a pet photo shoot more than getting in close for a snapshot and being confronted by bad breath or unsightly teeth and gums. To help pet parents take notice of their pet's dental health needs, Unleashed by Petco is hosting the #UNLStyle Beauty Close-ups Contest February 1-22, 2014 during National Pet Dental Health Month. Pet parents are encouraged to care for their pet's smile by clicking on the contest application to submit their photo for a chance to win $2,500.
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have periodontal disease by the age of three, making it the number one disease in cats and dogs. Periodontal disease can not only lead to bad breath but can also irritate the gums and cause inflammation known as gingivitis, possibly leading to bone deterioration and tooth loss. To help prepare pet parents for the Beauty Close-ups Contest, here are three ways to keep pets grinning:
1. Home dental care is important to a pet's overall health. Some pets resist brushing, but most eventually accept it. Here are some tips on brushing away bad cat and dog breath:
Start by getting pets used to having their mouth handled. Gently massage their lips with a finger in a circular motion for 30 to 60 seconds once or twice a day.
Once they are comfortable with this routine, introduce a toothbrush. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste developed specifically for dogs and cats.
2. Pets don't enjoy visits to the dentist either. Here's how to keep pets out of the dentist's chair:
Daily or at least twice-weekly brushings, depending on the pet's condition.
Keep a regular regimen of inspecting teeth and gums. Observe problems and attend to them early.
3. Some pets refuse to "open wide" when the toothbrush is near. Consider using specially formulated dental diets or treats, enzyme-enhanced chews or dental toys to help avoid tartar build up and gingivitis:
Try dental chews such as Greenies, which contain nutritious proteins that break down into small teeth-cleaning bites that are easy to swallow and digest.
About the Contest:
To enter the contest, visit http://bit.ly/UNLstyle and click on the contest application. For every contest entry, Unleashed by Petco will donate $10 to the Petco Foundation up to $10,000, helping animal-welfare organizations find lifelong, loving homes for millions of orphaned pets, as well as fund spay and neuter efforts, animal assisted therapy programs and humane education. On March 7, 2014, the 10 winners of the Unleashed by Petco's #UNLStyle Beauty Close-ups Contest will be announced, with the top five dog photos and top five cat photos winning up to $2,500. More information can be found at www.unleashedbypetco.com.