For February, vets want you to remember to take care of your pet’s teeth! From stinky breath to painful complications, dental issues in pets can be serious business. Both cats and dogs can suffer from dental diseases and conditions that can drastically reduce their quality of life, or be a sign of something wrong internally. At the very least, dental problems can lead to chronic pain and difficulty eating.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats will have some kind of oral disease by the age of three. You can prevent problems by simply going to the vet, who is also your pet’s dentist, and committing to healthy teeth and gums for the whole (furry) family.
- Be on the lookout for dental disease warning signs:
- Bad breath
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Tartar buildup
- Excessive drooling
- Avoiding certain foods or chewing tenderly
- Eat right: Malnutrition can affect your pet’s gums and teeth. Getting the proper chow is integral to overall wellness, but vets say it’s important for a healthy mouth too.
- Prevention methods are the same as for humans: Use a toothbrush! A soft toothbrush should be used daily to remove food debris, tartar, plaque… the entire spiel you receive from your own Find specialty cat and dog toothpaste at your local pet store.
- Let the pros clean: Your vet may recommend a professional teeth cleaning once or twice a year, usually with general anesthesia. They’ll remove tartar and plaque, and recommend further dental procedures if needed.
Your pet’s dental health is more important than you may realize. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping their chompers clean, the AVMA suggests that you can add up to five years to your pet’s life.