Dental Care for Pets: Why it's so important to care for your pets teeth
Did you know that providing your pet with good dental hygiene can add two to four years to their life? With periodontal disease being the most common disease in adult dogs and cats, caring for your pet’s teeth is one of the best things you can do for them.
Periodontal disease is an infection resulting from a build-up of soft dental plaque on the surface of the teeth around the gums. Hard dental tartar can start to form within a few days on a tooth that is kept unclean which encourages further plaque accumulation. Once tartar begins to grow in thickness, it is difficult to remove without treatment from a veterinarian.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 70%-80% of dogs and cats show signs of oral disease by age three. Small dog breeds, dogs with a lot of muzzle hair, toy breeds that open-mouth breathe, and dogs that are fed a soft food diet tend to have more problems.
A common belief is that it is normal for your pet to have bad breath but bad breath is actually one of the first signs of oral disease. This can lead to your pet’s gums becoming irritated, causing bleeding and oral pain. Your pet could also begin losing its appetite or dropping food from its mouth.
Infections that form can spread through their bloodstream to the liver, kidneys and heart, causing further medical conditions.
On average, less than one percent of dogs receive daily tooth brushings and that percentage is even less for cats. The key to managing your pet’s teeth is a good diet, regular brushing, and yearly exams. Without these things, it is possible your pet could lose all its teeth.
Sometimes you will hear about groomers who offer teeth cleaning services but we would like the public to be aware that it is illegal for anyone other than a veterinarian to clean your animal’s teeth. Many groomers will just scrape off the outer tarter which does nothing to fix the dental disease because the problem is what lies beneath the gum line which can only be cleaned under general anesthesia.
Here at Haven Humane Society, our veterinary hospital offers dental exams Monday through Friday to qualifying low income clients as well as veterans. The first step is to schedule an exam and then a plan for future care and an estimate for the cleaning will be provided.