February is national pet dental month, established by the American Veterinary Medical Society and the American Veterinary Dental Society to raise awareness of the importance of keeping the mouths of dogs and cats as healthy as possible. Oral disease in pets is very preventable as long as you are armed with the correct information and ways to keep tartar and plaque at bay.
Just like humans, pets need appropriate dental care which they rely on you, their owner and best friend, to provide for them. Infections in the mouths of dogs and cats have been linked to other serious conditions including diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, kidney disease, as well as other life threatening issues. Gum disease, dental calculus, abscesses, as well as loose and missing teeth is the most common reason throughout the United States for taking your pet to see his veterinarian.
In order to combat this common health problem in both dogs and cats, here are a few facts to put you on the right track in establishing how to prevent it.
- The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that by age 2, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats will have some form of dental disease if the proper precautions are not taken to avoid the problem.
- Oral disease is the number one health problem diagnosed in cats and dogs.
- Routine exams by your vet and proper cleanings will help prevent tooth loss as well as extractions, which can require emergency treatment, which then raises the cost of care. Preventive care will help to avoid this.
- Oral disease in dogs and cats is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar. It starts as gingivitis (inflamed gums), which then leads to an infection of the teeth and gums, and eventually the entire body, which is called periodontitis.
- Signs of dental problems in both cats and dogs include bad breath, toothaches, loose or discolored teeth, tartar buildup, and constant licking or pawing at the mouth.
- In extreme cases of dental disease, the bacteria can even spread to the bloodstream and create additional health problems.
- A combination of routine vet visits and home care like brushing your dogs and cats teeth will reduce the chance of dental disease significantly.
In honor of February being national pet dental month, make a commitment to your pet to have their teeth checked. There are ways to prevent and treat dental disease in pets, but the first step is knowing the facts.