Imagine if you never brushed your teeth – ew! Think of the bacteria growth, the decay, the gum disease and tooth loss. Think about the justifiable conniption that a dentist would have when you finally went in for a visit. As you can imagine, it wouldn’t be pretty. Essentially, this is what is happening for many pets. Dogs and cats can’t brush their own teeth, of course…so, it’s up to their pet parents to ensure that they’re receiving the dental care that they need.
But why exactly is dental care so doggone important for pets? Let’s take a look at what poor dental health can do to your pet’s overall health:
Pain: You’ve likely experienced dental pain at some point in your life – maybe a loose tooth or tender nerve or a painful cavity. Pets feel dental pain, too. Tooth and gum pain can happen gradually or suddenly as a result of poor dental hygiene and its related complications.
Tooth Loss: Just like us, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Dogs and cats rely on their teeth for all of the obvious purposes like chewing and biting, but for animals, healthy teeth offer a confidence in self-protection. Chewing and licking and nibbling are all parts of their instincts – as well as knowing that they can bite to protect themselves as needed. Tooth loss is not only a cosmetic and mealtime problem but can also lead to depression, anxiety and a general sense of being unwell in pets.
These two reasons, alone, should be enough to convince you that proper dental care is essential for your pet’s quality of life. But, if you need more, you should know about this one:
Organ Failure: Bacteria in plaque can enter a pet’s bloodstream and lead to heart, kidney and liver failure which can be fatal.This is truly a deadly situation and not one to be taken lightly. What’s worse is that many dogs have gum disease by the time they’re only three years old. Insufficient or inconsistent professional dental care can lead to worsening dental problems that can cause irreparable damage to your pet’s organs.
So, what can you do? You should begin by scheduling a dental checkup and cleaning with your veterinarian. You should also speak with your veterinarian about the steps that you can take at home to help care for your pet’s teeth and gums.
Let’s take a bite out of dental disease – let’s ensure that your pet is being seen regularly for proper dental care.