Taking care of your pet’s teeth can add years to their lives. Did you know that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats are affected by dental disease by the age of three?
Signs of Dental Disease
Signs that your pet needs dental attention would be dark stains on their teeth, loose teeth, redness or inflamed gums, stinky breath, pain when you touch their gums, and sensitivity when eating. By brushing your pet’s teeth at least twice a week, you can hopefully avoid dental issues. Also giving them a healthy diet in plenty of appropriate chew toys can also help.
If you pet has any of these dental disease warning signs, check in with your vet. It may be time for a professional cleaning.
What is Pet Dental Disease?
According to the AMVA (American Veterinary Medical Association) most dental diseases occur below the gum line where you can’t see it. That's why it's so important for you and your vet to regularly examine your pet's teeth. Bacteria in the mouth solidify and form plaque. The plaque turns into tartar in about 3 to 5 days if the teeth are not brushed. This can cause inflammation, bleeding, tooth loss and bad breath. If left untreated, it can even contribute to heart, liver and kidney disease.
How to Take Care of Your Pet's Dental Needs
The single most important thing you can do for your pet’s dental hygiene is brushing your pet's teeth. If you can do it daily, great. If not, shot for 3x a week. With my dogs, I start brushing when they are a pup, so they get used to it. My lab, Sammy, always liked to get his teeth brushed since he loved the taste of the beef flavored toothpaste.
When you can’t brush – what do you do?
Due to surgery to treat laryngeal paralysis, my vet told me I could not brush my dog’s teeth. I was very concerned, as I know how important dental health is for dogs. Since I could not brush Sammy’s teeth or even give him Greenies®, my vet suggested a water additive called Healthy Mouth®. It is not cheap, but it was worth it. When we were visiting the vet a year later, the vet was amazed at how clean Sammy’s teeth were – without brushing!
As pet parents we need to take pet hygiene seriously. Keeping them healthy with good care, quality food and, of course, a clean bed.
Do you have any tricks or tips to make brushing easier? If you do, share with us and save $5 on your next PawSheet.