When it comes to keeping our pets healthy, pet parents often overlook the importance of oral hygiene. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, it is estimated that the majority of pets show symptoms of dental or periodontal disease by three years of age.
Studies reveal that about two-thirds of pet owners do not provide the dental care recommended by their veterinarians. That is very unfortunate. Even though pets don’t often get cavities, they are susceptible to periodontal or gum disease, which is the number one illness found in both dogs and cats. That is why it is so important that pet lovers include dental hygiene in their animals’ health and wellness routine.
Just like with people, dental disease can lead to all sorts of major health issues for animals, dental hygiene is as important to your pets’ overall health as nutrition and exercise. Gum inflammation and tooth loss can be very painful to your pet and costly to treat, but they can also lead to more serious conditions, including damage to the heart, lungs and kidneys.
Since dental problems often develop gradually, it is easy to miss the signs until they become severe. That is why it is critical to schedule annual dental checkups with your pet’s veterinarian.
As a pet parent, you certainly want your pet to have a healthy mouth. Below are five reasons why good dental care for pets is so critical to your pet’s overall health:
1. Preventing tooth loss. When the structures supporting a pet’s teeth become damages or infected, the teeth loosen and fall out. Good dental care will ensure that those teeth-supporting structures stay healthy and keep the teeth in place.
2. Preventing bad breath (halitosis). If a whiff of your dog’s or cat’s breath makes your nose hairs curl, it is definitely time for an oral health check.
3. Preventing oral pain. Dental disease, especially when it is severe, can be quite painful and lead to difficulty eating and a decreased quality of life. Keeping your pet’s teeth and gums healthy will help prevent oral pain.
4. Preventing organ damage. Bacteria from the plaque can enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart, kidneys and liver and damage these organs, which causes severe illnesses. Good oral health will help prevent subsequent organ damage.
5. Preventing worsening dental disease. Because so many pets have dental disease already by the time they are three years old, the importance of home dental care and regular dental checkups can not be stressed enough, to prevent dental diseases from occurring or becoming severe.
4 pillars of better dental health for your pet
Protecting the oral health of your pet is super important for the reasons we have outlined above. Although ‘perfect’ oral hygiene can be elusive, there are ways to proactively stave off the possibility of dental disease.
1. At home oral hygiene
2. Pet Food and treats that support dental health
3. Annual dental checkups
4. Regular professional dental cleaning