The Importance of Dental Care for Your Pets

Pets have teeth too, and, as such, regular dental care is a crucial component of their overall health. Now answer this question honestly: When was the last time you gave any thought to your pet’s dental health? If your answer was something along the lines of “it’s been a while” or “never” you can take solace in knowing that you’re probably not alone. In fact, studies reveal that a whopping two-thirds of pet owners don’t provide regular dental care for their pets. This is a huge mistake!

Pet Dental Health - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital

Have you ever experienced a painful tooth or an uncomfortable sore in your mouth? Most people that have issues with their oral hygiene seek dental care to rectify the situation. The same should be true for your four-legged companions. Even though pets don’t typically get cavities, they’re highly susceptible to periodontal disease, the #1 illness found in both dogs and cats. As such, it’s of the utmost importance that pet lovers include dental hygiene in their animals’ health and wellness routine.

The fact is, if you don’t look in your pet’s mouth, you’re likely missing important problems. Estimates suggest that, by the time they’re 3 years old, approximately 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease. Some of the most common symptoms in both include yellow and brown buildup of tartar along the gum line, inflamed gums, and persistent bad breath. A change in eating habits or pawing at the mouth can also be an indicator. Since dental problems often develop gradually over time, it’s easy to either miss the warning signs or attribute them to something else. This is why it’s absolutely critical to schedule a regular annual dental checkup with your pet’s veterinarian.

The mouth is the gateway to health for your pets. Those with poor oral health often have other health problems as well. If oral disease is left untreated, it can lead to a host of problems. Bacteria from the infected oral environment can seep into the blood stream causing complications with the heart, liver, kidneys and other serious health concerns. Studies have shown that the seriousness of these issues can reduce the life expectancy of your pet by 1 to 3 years. Though periodontal disease is the #1 disease among pets, the good news is that it’s also among the most treatable. Extending the life of your pet and improving their overall quality of life is not only possible, it can be made easy as well.

It’s important to visit your pet’s veterinarian for a dental exam to determine if your pet has periodontal disease. Depending on your pets’ breed and size, visits could be as frequent as every 3 to 6 months or annually. A home dental routine is extremely important, too. Imagine what would happen if you only brushed your teeth twice a year (when you visited your dentist). Plaque, the leading cause of periodontal disease, can begin to develop on pets’ teeth as quickly as 12 hours after a dental cleaning. Brushing your pets’ teeth can still be an effective method in a daily oral health routine.

Remember, good oral hygiene at home increases the time between necessary professional cleanings. If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call us at 5 Points Animal Hospital. We’ll help you keep your pets healthy and happy and show them the love and care that they deserve!

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , | Leave a Comment

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