Now that pets are living longer they need preventative health care just like people. Brushing your pets' teeth is really important and should be done at least twice a week. Owners must use special toothpastes for animals. These contain specific enzymes that will work whether or not you brush the teeth each time. Other things like hard kibble and giving them dental treats can also help. Click here to view a slide show on brushing your dog's teeth.

Please remember that dental care is critical because if a pet gets moderate to severe plaque, they can develop gum disease and will require a professional cleaning by a vet. Big dogs have to undergo general anesthesia for such procedures.

-- Marguerite Marsh, author of the Animal House blog for Columbus Parent