Pet Dental Health

Is Pet Dental Health Really Important?

Many veterinarians stress the importance of oral hygiene because tooth and gum problems are common medical conditions seen in pets. If left unchecked, an unhealthy mouth can affect the liver, kidneys, heart and even the brain.

So when you lean in to give your pet a smooch, ask yourself, "Does my pet need a breath mint?" Studies show that 98% of pets with bad breath are suffering from severe plaque build up. Bad breath not only means that your pet's mouth may be a warehouse for unhealthy bacteria, tartar and plaque, but it can also point to unhealthy intestines. In addition, the quality of your pet's food can contribute to the status of your pet's breath. Low quality food can cause digestive problems, thus promoting bad breath.

Can I share my toothpaste with my pet?

Absolutely not! Pets aren't like us: they swallow whatever you use to clean their teeth. Human toothpaste simply isn't edible. Nor is the heavy minty flavor really desirable to pets. Human toothpaste can give your pet some serious stomach problems.

Did you know?

Certain breeds of dogs and cats are genetically predisposed to unhealthy teeth and gums? For example, the Maltese is the number one dog breed with tooth and gum problems. In the cat world, the Siamese and the Abyssinian, charming as they are, have serious tooth problems and often get some of their teeth pulled during their youth. Other factors include viruses, bacteria and not enough abrasive foods.

It all starts with the gums looking almost red, and some of the teeth coated with tartar. When it comes to your pet's mouth, don't take anything for granted. When you examine your pet, slowly open his mouth with your fingers and ask yourself the following questions:

It's also important to observe your pet's behavior as far as food is concerned. Has your pet been approaching his food bowl reluctantly? Has he been eating slower than usual and has he exhibited trouble biting hard things? Does your dog or cat cry during or after eating? Does your cat have the tendency to pick up food, spit it out, pick it up again and finally throw it to the back with his tongue?

If you've nodded your head to two or more of any of the questions above, then it's clear that your pet has some dental health issues! You must take your pet to your veterinarian right away for an oral examination.

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Lori Matthews studies health, nutrition and wellness. Enjoys writing articles on health for both people and pets. Please visit Lifes Abundance Dog Food for more information and products on dental health for dogs and cats.

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