Dental disease is the most common disease among cats and dogs

By Kelli Bender
Updated February 16, 2016 10:26 PM
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Dog breath isn’t just a playground insult, it’s a serious problem plaguing our pets. Dental disease is the most common disease among cat and dogs, even though it is also one of the more preventable pet ailments.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month; 28 days dedicated to raising awareness on how you can keep your pet’s teeth and gums disease-free and prevent costly and invasive vet procedures. To help spread the word, Candace Cameron Bure has joined Banfield Pet Hospital in its efforts to get all pet owners to be proactive about dental health.

Bure and Banfield are encouraging the whole family to get involved with the children’s book My Very, Very Smelly Breath, a scratch-and-sniff story about how pup Queen Esther fixes her smelly dental woes with a few easy solutions.

While Bure isn’t a veterinarian, she plays one on TV. In Netflix’s upcoming series Fuller House, Bure’s character D.J. Tanner rejoins her pop culture family and is now a veterinarian. Bure took a break from the Tanner family, her real family, and her multiple day jobs to tell PEOPLE about how easy it is to care for your pet’s teeth — and how excited she is that the Tanners are to be back on TV.

How did you become involved with Banfield Pet Hospital and its pet dental health initiative?

February is Pet Dental Health Month, so I got to be a guest vet at one of their hospitals. On Fuller House, my new show, D.J. Tanner is a veterinarian, and I am a pet owner in real like. I have my doggy Boris. I teamed up with them to bring awareness to how easy it is to take care of your pet’s dental health. Dental disease is one of the leading issues that dogs and cats face.

Banfield Hospital gave me tips on how to brush your pet’s teeth, and to make sure you get them to the vet twice a year to check on them. They also have a cute book that you can involve your kids with called My Very, Very Smelly Breath. It’s a scratch-and-sniff book. The book is a $10 donation and 100% of that donation goes to Banfields’ foundation.

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Banfield Pet Hospital

What is your dog Boris like and how do you keep his teeth healthy?

Boris is an 11-month-old Rottweiler, and he is the fifth dog that we’ve had in our family. We’re dog lovers.

The easiest thing is to give him the treats that help clean his teeth. It can be a little bit harder with bigger dogs, to get in there and brush, especially with our dog. He literally weighs more than I do, so it can be tough to get him to sit so we can brush his teeth. But we manage. My husband is really great at it.

Banfield showed me some techniques on how to hold a dog and lift its lip up to brush its teeth. When you train them over time, its something they can enjoy. It’s pretty simple and basic, and it goes a long way to prevent them from getting dental disease. It’s always good to spread how easy and preventable it is.

Why do you think dental care goes unnoticed by so many pet owners?

I think we just forget about it. Pets are a part of our family, but life gets busy and you’re just not thinking ‘Hey, I brush my teeth everyday; I should probably brush my animal’s as well.’ “

So all of this is just a great reminder. The more time you invest at home, the less you have to do at the vet, which is money in your pocket.

What pet knowledge have you picked up playing a vet on Fuller House and being a guest vet at Banfield Pet Hospital?

I don’t know if I learned much more than I already know, I just love that I got the opportunity to be around animals so much more, which makes me more comfortable and relaxed. It’s just more fun to love those furry little faces.

Did you have any say in D.J. becoming a vet on Fuller House?

It was kind of a surprise. I knew at the beginning, when we were developing the character and who she would be today, that they wanted D.J. to be a veterinarian. And I thought that was amazing, because that is one of the things I always thought she would become. It was a fun, pleasant surprise that I thought was a perfect fit.

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Banfield Pet Hospital

Aside from portraying a vet, what was your favorite part of filming Fuller House?

Just getting to work with my friends every day has been amazing. That doesn’t come around very often, where you just get to go back and do your dream job all over again.

I hope fans will fall in love all over again and the show will bring back good memories. What we’re really hoping is that they’re going to fall in love with the new families and new kids, and let Fuller House become another generational show for years to come.