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The Importance of Dental Care For Your Pet

While your pets are clearly not as sophisticated as human beings, the simple fact is that there are many similarities in how pets and humans have to be cared for in order to live healthy, happy lives. Like humans, pets need exercise, nutritious food, regular doctor checkups, loving interactions and much more. One thing that few people consider is their pet’s dental hygiene. In fact, pet dental health is one of the most important things pet owners need to ensure for their animals. The American Veterinary Dental Society has reported that eighty percent of dogs and seventy percent of cats show signs of periodontal disease by the age of three, and this is the top disease that pet dogs and cats suffer from. This is not difficult to understand when one considers that people brush their own teeth once, twice or even more frequently during the day, while their pets may only receive dental cleanings during their annual veterinary examinations.

The Cause of Pet Oral Disease

Bacterial plaque is the number one factor for periodontal disease. Food particles and bacteria that become lodged in the teeth and gums cause plaque to form over the teeth. This white film can easily be brushed away if addressed quickly, but if left untreated it can harden into tartar, which is much harder to remove. The plaque and tartar buildup around the tooth pushes bacteria down into the gum line, effectively moving this bacteria away from the oxygen needed to help fight it off. The tartar also creates a sort of wall behind which the bacteria can begin to attack surrounding tissue, which can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis.

Periodontal disease occurs when some or all of the tooth’s support structures become inflamed. Not only is this severely uncomfortable for the animal, the disease can diminish their overall health and weaken their energy, affecting your pet’s quality of life and opening the door to the possibility of serious health issues.

How to Tell if Your Pet Has an Oral Disease

One of the first signs of periodontal disease is bad breath. Obviously, your pet’s diet and general activities can contribute to less-than-perfect breath, but there is a marked difference between a “healthy” bad breath situation and the bad breath that accompanies periodontal disease. Most pet owners notice a distinct difference in their pet’s breath if they are suffering from even the initial stages of periodontal disease. This halitosis is caused by bacteria, unhealthy oral tissues and decomposing food particles.

A pet that is suffering from periodontal diseases may also have unnaturally red gums near the tooth line, bleeding gums, sensitivity around their mouth, difficulty eating or keeping food in their mouth and obvious plaque and tartar buildup.

The Results of Untreated Periodontal Disease

According to the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, when periodontal disease is left untreated, your pet may begin to suffer from a variety of local and systemic diseases. Bacteria from an infected mouth will not remain localized to their mouth, and it can seep into your pet’s bloodstream to cause problems with their heart, liver and kidneys. These problems can be so severe that in some cases a pet’s life expectancy has been reduced by anywhere from one to three years as a result of periodontal disease complications. Considering that periodontal disease is a very preventable and even treatable condition, pet owners should take care to ensure the proper dental care for their pet.

Good Dental Care

In order to provide proper dental care to your pet, there are pet toothbrush and toothpaste products, dental chews, water additives and other helpful dental care products available at most pet stores. These products can make taking care of your pet’s dental health easy and affordable. Establishing a good dental routine for your pet is the best way to prevent or treat periodontal diseases, though it is always recommended that a veterinarian examine your pet to ensure all proper actions are taken.

And during the month of January Animal Healthcare PC is offering $146.25 off pet teeth cleaning! Contact us today for more details.

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