How Dental Health is Key to a Long Life for Your Pet

Keeping your pet happy and healthy is a top priority for pet owners around the world, but many dog owners overlook the importance of proper dental and oral care. The result of ignoring proper oral hygiene for your pet could cause more harm than just bad breath.

Pet Diseases Related to Poor Hygiene

The American Veterinary Dental Society has research showing that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of disease related to oral hygiene. Take a look at some of the common and lesser-known dental diseases:

Plaque build-up is very common without proper dental care and can lead to inflammation in your pet’s mouth. This is an early stage of gum disease and should be treated seriously.

Periodontal Disease
Infection of the gums and teeth. This infection is incredibly painful for your pet and will cause excruciating pain, tooth and bone loss, and many other gum and oral related symptoms. Studies show that 80 percent of dogs have some form of periodontal disease by age three. Be conscious of your pet struggling to pick up food, bleeding of the mouth, lumps in the mouth, or chewing with only one side of his or her mouth because they are all signs of your pet developing gum disease.

Lumps or unidentifiable masses in your pet’s mouth could be a tumor, which could be cancerous. Be sure to regularly inspect your pet’s mouth to locate and immediately treat oral abnormalities.

The above and other dental diseases can lead to more serious health problems for your pet, such as heart and lung diseases, infections throughout the body, and ultimately taking years off of your pet’s life. In an article from PetMD, a vet tells her pet owners that proper dental hygiene and care can make a puppy’s lifespan go from 11 to 13 years to 15 to 17 years.

Proper Dental Care Routines for Your Pet’s Health

To help your pet avoid experiencing any of the previously mentioned symptoms we outlined some proper actions for pet owners to take to ensure proper dental health for their furry friends:

Daily Brushing
Plaque builds up and hardens quickly, so only brushing a few times a month is not enough to prevent plaque and tartar build up. This simple step is crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth for your pet. Purchase a toothbrush and the appropriate toothpaste to start improving your dog’s health.

Vet Check-ups
Schedule regular dental check-ups with your local veterinarian to inspect your pet’s gums and teeth. Veterinarians are trained to identify problem areas that you may miss.

There are many dietary supplements and pet foods that are designed to fight plaque and tartar build up. Find food that contains proper minerals that clean teeth and strengthen gums. Your vet can recommend the best diet for your pet.

There are treats and chew toys on the market that are engineered to keep your pet’s mouth cleaner. Products have a seal from the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) that signifies the product meets requirements to control plaque and tartar in dogs and cats.

Where to Start

There are many dental care products available to help your pet get on the right path to impeccable dental health. Check with your local vet office and local or online pet stores to find the appropriate dental care products for your pet. Even if it merely begins with regularly brushing your pet’s teeth you could be adding years to their life. Don’t be one of the many pet owners who ignore this critical aspect of their animal’s health; your pet will thank you.

Emily is a freelance wildlife conservation and pet blogger. To check out more of her work, see her blog, Conservation Folks
, or follow her Twitter account @emilysfolk.

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