Regular dental care is a crucial component to your animal's health
Tell the truth: When was the last time you gave any thought to your pet's dental health? If it's been a while-or maybe never-you're not alone. Studies reveal that about two-thirds of pet owners do not provide the dental care recommended by their veterinarians.
That's a big mistake. Even though pets don't often get cavities, they are susceptible to periodontal or gum disease, which is the number one illness found in both dogs and cats. That's why it's so important that pet lovers include dental hygiene in their animals health and wellness routine.
Just like with people, dental disease can lead to all sorts of major health issues for animals, explains Dr. Mark Verdino, VP and Chief of Veterinary Services at North Shore Animal League America. Dental hygiene is as important to your pets overall health as nutrition and exercise, he adds. Gum inflammation and tooth loss can be very painful to your animals and costly to treat, but they also can lead to more serious conditions, including damage to the heart, lungs and kidneys.
Estimates suggest that, by the time they are three years old, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease.
Some of the most common symptoms in dogs include:
yellow and brown build-up of tartar along the gum line
persistent bad breath
A change in eating habits
pawing at the mouth
But since dental problems often develop gradually, it's easy to miss the signs until there is a bad infection. That's why it's critical to schedule a regular annual dental check-up with your pet's veterinarian.
Below is more information you need to know help you prevent your beloved dog or cat from getting dental disease and add years to their life.
It's important to brush your pet's teeth as early as possible. The best time to start a tooth-brushing regimen is when their adult teeth are in, at about 6-9 months old. But getting puppies and kittens used to the process earlier is important. Avoid dental products containing Xylitol, as it is highly toxic to dogs NEVER use human toothpaste to clean pets teeth and gums.
Poor dental hygiene can lead to dental disease. Dental disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth and can result in oral pain, halitosis, tooth loss and periodontal disease, and it can even affect the heart, kidneys, intestinal tract and joints. Also, a pet in dental pain is not a happy pet, and the pain can affect his/her ability to eat.