Did you know that one of the most common diseases that affects both cats and dogs is dental disease? Despite this risk, many pet owners are unaware or underestimate the chances that their pets could be suffering from oral health problems. Contrary to popular belief, bad breath isn’t normal for pets. Instead, if your pet’s breath is liable to clear a room, it could very well be a sign that your pet needs a dental cleaning. A clean and healthy mouth relates to more than good breath; it is a key factor in pets living longer, healthier lives.
So what causes the smell?
You can attribute your pet’s day-long “morning breath” to gum disease. The major contributing factor in gum disease is bacteria. Once your pet eats, bacteria commonly found in the mouth bond with food particles forming plaque. Without brushing, the plaque sits on the teeth and eventually hardens into tartar. Tartar pushes against the gums causing “pockets” where additional bacteria can hide and cause infections at both the gum line and even deeper to the root of a tooth. The infection, is what creates the foul odor you smell every time Fido comes close.
Is this really a big deal?
Absolutely! When these infections are left untreated for long periods of time they can result in tooth loss. To be honest, loose teeth is just the tip of the ice burg. These infections can spread to the bone creating your pet’s jaws and lead to fractures. When the infections become even more severe the bacteria may enter the bloodstream becoming systemic and spreading to the kidneys, liver, and even the heart.
What can I do to reduce the risk of dental disease?
Start by bringing your pet in for regular check-ups. You may not notice the symptoms of dental disease in its early stages, but your veterinarians can spot it and recommend treatments as needed. If your pet has bad breath, inspect his/her mouth. Look for things like reddened, swollen gums; yellowish-brown tartar build up and broken or chipped teeth. These signs indicate a need to bring your pet in for an oral exam.
When you bring your pet in to SportsVet, we can also show you how to brush your pet’s teeth at home. Home brushing can dramatically reduce the amount of plaque on your pet’s teeth and help reduce the risk of gum disease, tooth loss, and other health issues. Schedule an appointment today.