Don’t Ignore Your Pet’s Dental Health

Did you know? Peridontal (gum) disease is the number one diagnosed problem in dogs and cats. By the age of two, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease. How many of us would go our entire life without seeing a dentist? Yet two-thirds of pet owners do not perform the essential dental care that we veterinarians recommend.

More Than Bad Breath

We’ve all made jokes about “doggy breath.” But bad breath is a symptom of something far more serious going on. Yes, your pet’s mouth is full of bacteria. When the bacteria mixes with food debris and saliva, it can cause plaque formations that accumulate on the tooth. When the bacteria die, the calcium found in saliva causes the bacteria to harden on the tooth, forming tartar. The tartar encourages more plaque to form, making the problem worse.

Inflammation and Infection Can Lead to Serious Complications

Once plaque has spread, it causes gingivitis, or gum inflammation. Left unchecked, infection can set in. Serious infections can lead to tooth loss and major health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, emphysema, liver disease, osteoporosis, pregnancy problems and diabetes. No wonder pet dental disease is known as “the silent killer.”

Prevention is Key!

Step 1:

Schedule a routine physical for your pet that includes a dental exam. Your vet will help you learn the signs of a healthy mouth and teeth, so you can spot early warning signs. A basic oral exam can generally be done right there in the examination room. (For complete dental examinations and cleanings, general anesthesia is necessary.)

Step 2:

Start Brushing! Getting kittens and puppies used to brushing is best, but you can teach old pets new
tricks—especially when you use yummy-flavored toothpaste like liver or chicken. Never use human toothpaste. (And don’t share your toothbrush!)

Ask about specially formulated foods with proven benefits in plaque and tartar removal.

Step 3:

Schedule annual dental cleanings with your veterinarian.