Pet Dental Care: Add Years to Your Pets Life

In honor of National Pet Dental Health Month (February), veterinarians everywhere are stressing to pet owners the importance of treating pet dental conditions. Without proper dental care, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats will show signs of oral disease by the age of three. In fact, oral disease is the number one problem diagnosed in dogs and cats. Dogs rarely show discomfort when they have dental problems and cats almost never show dental pain. Ever.

There are four degrees of dental (periodontal) disease. Stage 1 to 2, if caught early on, can be fixed easily through scaling and polishing. If the periodontal disease is not caught during those stages, they can progress into Stage 3 or 4. In Stage 3 and 4, the teeth will need to have severe cleaning, surgery, and/or have them pulled. On the teeth, tartar (the yellow parts on the teeth) is all bacteria. If left untreated, it will go into the gums into what's known as the periodontal pocket. As the bacteria progresses, it will go straight into the bloodstream of that pet, causing major problems in the liver, kidney, and even the heart.

But all is not lost. There are many ways to help your furry friend during the year. The most effective way is taking your pet to the vet regularly for check-ups. This will give you very reliable information on your pet. Another way is to brush your pet's teeth and give them dental chews. Because all pets have different dental needs, we recommend speaking with your vet about the best and most effective brands of dental chews and even to get pointers on how to brush. With good oral hygiene, some veterinarians believe it will add up to 4 years to your pet’s life!