Why Dental Care is Important For Pets
The American Animal Hospital Association guidelines recommend regular examinations and dental cleanings for all adult dogs and cats annually starting at one year for cats and small-breed dogs, and at two years of age for larger-breed dogs. However, a National Pet Owners survey found that only 14 percent of dogs and 9 percent of cats receive dental care at the veterinarian’s office. Because of this, it’s estimated that four out of five dogs over the age of three have some sort of periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is one of the three most common diseases in cats today.
Numerous studies show a link between gum disease and serious health issues such as heart disease. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, bacteria can enter your pet’s bloodstream from their teeth and mouth, leading to potential infections of your pet’s heart, lung, kidneys, liver, and nervous system.
As we are approaching National Pet Dental Health Awareness Month (coming up in February), this is a great time for us to discuss the importance of dental health in pets, its effect on their overall health, and best dental care practices at home. Without further ado, let’s get right into It!
Brushing For Better Breath
Bad breath can be an indicator of periodontal disease in people and in pets. Regular brushing helps keep your pet’s teeth healthier and their breath better, so those wonderful pet kisses won’t take your breath away.
Preventing Tooth Loss
Decay and gum disease can cause tooth loss in animals. This condition can be very painful and may cause serious health problems. Regular dental care saves you money in the long run and can help prevent tooth loss.
Symptoms of Hidden Dental Problems
Your pets can’t tell you directly that their teeth hurt, so you might not realize they have a serious dental issue until it’s too late. If your pet is drooling more than usual, has bleeding gums, loose teeth, or suspicious looking spots on their gums, schedule an appointment right away! A dental exam is the best way to identify issues before they have a serious impact on your pet’s health. Your veterinarian will observe your pet’s face, their gums, cheeks, palate, and bite patterns to isolate dental health concerns and recommend cleaning and/or treatment.
Dental Hygiene for Cats and Dogs
Wondering what you can do to help your pet’s dental health? Here are some tips to help get you started!
- Brush your cat’s teeth – daily is best, but minimum at least 2-3 times a week; avoid human toothpaste, but select a pet-specific kind. These will come in flavors that your pet will accept (fish and poultry). It is recommended that you ease into brushing over 1-2 months.
- Have your vet recommend cat dental-specific treats, water additives or other products to help reduce plaque and calculus.
- Have your vet check your cat’s teeth and gums at each visit.
- Brush your pup’s teeth – daily is best, but minimum at least 2-3 times a week; avoid human toothpaste, but select a pet-specific kind. These will come in flavors that your pet will accept (fish and poultry). If your dog becomes restless while brushing the side “cheek” teeth and it appears to be painful, please have this checked out as soon as possible.
- Have your vet recommend dog dental-specific treats, water additives or other products to help reduce plaque and calculus.
- Have your vet check your dog’s teeth and gums at each visit. While these are all great tips, the bottom line is that dental health is a very important aspect of your pet’s overall well-being. Have some more specific questions?
Speak with your veterinarian and ask their advice on your specific pet and plan an appropriate dental care routine…not just during Pet Dental Health Awareness Month, but for many years to come!
Need a great vet? We have many! Visit us at www.AZPetVet.com and find the location nearest you.
[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.