Is a dog's mouth cleaner than a human's? Is it normal for your pet to have bad breath? Do you know what the #1 cause of pet illness is?
If you’re like most people, you’re not excited about going to the dentist. You probably figure your pet won’t be either. Maybe you think you don’t need to worry about their teeth unless they start drooling or cocking their head when eating. Sadly, by then your fur baby is almost certainly in pain… maybe worse.
By age three, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats are affected by periodontal disease. Bacteria from mouth infections can spread to other organs, weakening the heart, liver or kidneys. While folklore asserts that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s, dogs and cats simply have bacterial strains that are different from ours, but when causing infection, can still be just as dangerous. By age 7-8, the effects of your pet’s periodontal disease may be IRREVERSIBLE.
If the answer to any of these is “yes,” it’s time for an immediate dental exam with your vet!
Even if it’s “no,” a yearly exam greatly increases the chances of your cat or dog leading a longer, healthier life. Why be checked by a professional? Most dental disease occurs below the gum line so it’s critical to know what to look for, and it may even require more thorough evaluation (like x-rays).
I’m embarrassed to admit that I ignored my cat Smudge’s bad breath. I let the hassle of acclimating her to a toothbrush, and my fear of putting her under anesthesia keep me from recognizing the pain that she was experiencing. Our pets are so stoic, and I just didn’t know.
Thank goodness my veterinarian routinely does dental exams whenever she sees my babies. She suspected something was wrong below the gum lines and sent us to a veterinary dentist. Sure enough, there were problems—and once they’d been corrected, Smudge started racing around and chowing down like she was a kitten again!