We love our pets, but we don’t love Fido’s dog breath - and there’s good reason not to. Did you know that bad breath is one of the most common symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease in dogs and cats?
In fact, the American Veterinary Hospital Association estimates that more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease by the time they’re three years old.
Periodontal disease occurs as a result of plaque and tartar left on the teeth that builds up along the gums. In addition to bad breath, watch out for other symptoms in your pet, including:
- Yellow or brown crust on the teeth
- Change in eating habits
- Bleeding gums
- Tooth loss
If left untreated, periodontal disease can even affect your pet’s overall health if infection caused by the disease enters the bloodstream.
An Oral Care Plan for Fido
Fortunately, regular oral care can keep your dog or cat healthy and happy. Your veterinarian can help you establish a good dental health routine for your breed (smaller dogs and certain types of cats are more prone to periodontal disease), which should include professional cleanings. Daily brushing should also be part of regular care.
- Start slowly and be patient. First, try dipping your finger in beef bouillon for dogs or tuna water for cats and then rub your finger on their teeth. When they’re used to that, try rubbing the teeth with gauze.
- Reward your pet and keep the first sessions as short and positive as possible.
- Move to a soft-bristled brush after gauze is tolerated.
- Only use pet toothpaste, not people toothpaste that can make your pet sick.
Certain pet foods and toys are also available to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Check with your vet for the best oral care for your pet. They’ll be able to best answer any questions you may have about your furry friend’s dental health.
For more information, visit HMSADental.com.