By 3 years of age, 85% of our dogs and cats have periodontal disease. Dogs with periodontal disease have chronic oral pain, terrible breath, inflamed/bleeding gums and don’t want to play with their toys.
Periodontal disease is a problem with most dogs and cats because they don’t have to hunt anything but a food bowl—the activities of wild carnivores in hunting and eating prey animals keep their teeth and gums healthy. Since our dogs and cats do NOT have to hunt for a living, we need to maintain their oral health for them.
The primary risk factors for periodontal disease in dogs are Small Mouth, Crowded Mouth, and Hairy Mouth. In other words, a small dog (like a Yorkie), a dog with a snub nose (and, therefore, crowded/crooked teeth), or a dog with lots of facial hair (think Schnauzer) have a lot more problems with periodontal disease than, say, a Labrador. Dogs who eat canned food and table scraps have more periodontal problems than dogs who eat dry dog food.
The bacteria that causes the gingivitis associated with periodontal disease (and the source of the terrible breath these dogs and cats have) routinely invade the bloodstream to cause havoc with your pet’s heart, liver and kidneys. Every time a pet with periodontal disease eats, drinks, chews, licks or grooms, a cascade of bacteria enters his blood stream and targets these vital organs.
Regular dental care is one of the most loving and beneficial things we can do for our pets, and can:
add 2-5 happy years to your pet’s lifespan
prevent heart, liver and kidney disease
prevent oral pain, tooth loss and bad breath
Dental care includes:
regular cleaning/polishing at your veterinarian every 1-3 years
extracting unsalvageable teeth promptly, to help prevent future problems
enamel barrier sealants to help prevent tartar from returning
dental diets and chews that help floss the pet’s teeth
Maintaining your pet’s good oral health is a team effort between you, your pet and your veterinarian. The benefits are a happy, healthy pet that is a pleasure to be around.
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