Be honest. When was the last time you even thought about your pet’s dental needs?
If you are feeling a little on edge don’t worry, you aren’t alone. The sad fact is about 2/3 of the pet population never get routine dental care.
Now there are those exceptional pet parents who start off by acclimating their pets to daily tooth brushing and dental exams, but the sad reality is most pets don’t get to see a vet for their dental woes until it is bad enough to get their attention. And THAT is a big mistake!
Actually, pets don’t often get cavities, but they are very susceptible to periodontal or gum disease. Reports show that periodontal disease is the number one illness found in both dogs and cats! Now you see why dental hygiene is critical in our pets’ health routine. Dental care is simply just as important to our pets enjoying a long, healthy life as how much exercise they get and the nutritional value of their food. Inflamed gum tissue and tooth loss are as painful to our pets as to us. They are also costly to treat and can lead to more serious issues including damage to the heart, lungs and kidneys!
The sad truth is that many, many owners don’t see the value in regular dental care for their pets. Later, when the situation is so painful or has progressed to the organs, they have to choose to let their pets suffer, pay a hefty price trying to bring them back to health, or as too many do…put them to sleep.
It is estimated that by the time our pets are just three years old, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease.
Some of the most common symptoms in dogs and cats include:
- yellow and brown build-up of tartar along the gum line
- inflamed gums
- persistent bad breath.
- A change in eating habits or pawing at the mouth can also indicate dental disease.
Just as with us, dental problems often develop gradually making it easy to miss these signs until there is a bad infection.
The solution? Schedule a regular annual dental check-up with your veterinarian!
Prevention is always the best medicine!
- 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.
- NEVER use human toothpaste to clean pets’ teeth and gums.
Remember: 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. A pet with dental pain is not happy and the pain can affect his/her ability to eat.
Why not make that dental appointment for your pets today!