We all want our sweet, loving, loyal pets to get the attention and love they so desperately long for from us and others. How many times have each one of us basked in the glow of a doting stranger loving all over our animal and raving about their cute face and adorable personality? But then… the stranger’s inviting smile slowly begins to curl down into a frown and their noses begin to wrinkle and twitch as a strange, putrid odor wafts slowly toward their face from your dog’s panting, smiling mouth. They back away and keep their distance, permanently offended by the odor, never to touch your poor pooch’s scruff again. We as owners sometimes even back away from giving our pet’s attention and love because of the offensive odor that invades our senses every time we get close. They are obedient, loyal, and loving and still do not get the attention they crave- and, sadly, it is not even their fault. Our animals’ dental health not only affects the attention they receive, but their diet, their health, and even their general comfort.
Dental disease is one of the most common conditions diagnosed by a Veterinarian. In fact, over 80% of dogs over the age of three have active dental disease! Sometimes dogs do not show the obvious signs of dental disease, so it is important for their caretakers to get the yearly examination done for their pet so their Veterinarian can check for any signs of this harmful disease. Just as in humans, though, progressed dental disease can be very painful. But unlike humans, the greatest cause for dental disease is not tooth decay, but broken teeth and another ailment called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is inflammation and infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth. This happens when tartar and plaque build-up cause the gums to recede around the tooth; and when left untreated the infection often spreads into the socket and eventually into the bone that holds the tooth in place.
So what can we do about this plaque and tartar lurking in our pet’s gums, ready to cause pain and destruction? Just because of breed, some pets acquire the tartar build-up quicker than others, but, just like humans, the best way to prevent tartar build-up is by brushing their teeth every day using canine toothpaste that is specifically designed to be swallowed. Also, some pet chew toys and treats are specifically designed to prevent tartar build-up. Some pet foods have even been formulated as dental diets that help scrape the plaque away while they chew, as well. Once tartar if formed though, a professional dental cleaning is needed by your Veterinary professional to adequately remove the build-up.
Once tartar build-up is out of control and periodontal disease sets in, it can be difficult to completely stop the spread and ensuing tooth loss. Please, bring your pet in and get started on good dental hygiene today. When they are getting all the love they can stand, let their wagging tails be your thank you.