How To Ensure Your Pets Have Sound Dental Health
Doggy breath – it’s the perfect expression for a less than pleasing oral bouquet. But there’s more to the saying than you might think. In fact, your pet’s bad breath can mean that something is wrong with their health.
Our pets need dental care just as much as we do. Perhaps more so – our animal friends use their mouths for far more than just eating. If oral disease strikes, the repercussions can affect more than chewing food. And your pet’s dental health is a serious health issue – 80% of dogs and 70% of cats by the age of three have some form of dental disease. But with a little knowledge and protection techniques, you can help ensure your pets have happy smiles.
The Life Of Teeth
Cats and dogs go through two sets of teeth just like we do. The first set is called deciduous – or baby – teeth. Dogs have 28, and cats have 26 baby teeth. When puppies and kittens are around six months of age, their baby teeth fall out, and are replaced by permanent teeth. Dogs will have 42 adult teeth, and cats will have 30.
Start Monitoring Early
It’s a good idea to monitor your kitten or puppy during this period of dental transition. While most little ones loose and replace their teeth without any problems, sometimes one or more of the baby teeth are retained. The permanent teeth will erupt under them, causing discomfort. Retained teeth trap food and debris and can lead to a host of disorders.
Beginning a habit of checking your pet’s teeth early on is a good way to promote your best friend’s dental health.
The Warning Signs Of Dental Disease
Often the first sign of dental disease is bad breath. Gently lifting the lips, examine your pet’s gums for inflammation. Look for tartar build up and any missing or broken teeth. Other symptoms can be a reluctance to eat or play with toys, or an over-mouthing or chattering motion when eating. Lethargy and bleeding in the mouth are additional symptoms. In cats, drooling and a reluctance to groom are other indicators that your pet is experiencing dental discomfort.
Dental disorders progress in stages. Early detection and treatment by your veterinarian can spare your pet pain and misery.
Why Dental Heath Matters
Maintaining sound dental health is a major component of your pet’s over all health. The many kinds of bacteria that infect their gums and teeth can enter their bloodstream and infect their major organs. The heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, nervous system, and joints can all become diseased through poor dental health.
An Ounce Of Prevention
By including periodic dental examinations in your pet’s grooming you can keep them happy and comfortable. Your veterinarian can show you how to brush your dog or cat’s teeth, and recommend the best methods for preventative dental care.
Unfortunately, our pet’s dental health doesn’t seem to be a priority. National surveys indicate that only 14% of dogs and 9% of cats receive some form of dental care from veterinarians. But the consequences of ignoring our companions’ teeth can be detrimental to their overall health.
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