Dog Dental Care – A Necessary Ritual
Most people are aware of the many problems you can have with your teeth if you don’t brush them regularly. But, what many people don’t realize is that the same problems can happen to your pet’s teeth when they are not properly cared for. Regular dental care is as necessary for your pet as it is for you.
The potential danger for dental disease in your pets rises dramatically without proper dental care. Studies show that 85% of adult pets (both cats and dogs) have some form of Periodontal Disease, the most common infectious dental related disease. If Periodontal Disease is left untreated other problems can occur, including pain in the mouth, bad breath and even tooth loss.
Periodontal Disease is not limited to harming your pet’s dental health only. An untreated infection can spread bacteria throughout the bloodstream, infecting the heart, lungs and other organs, and could even be fatal in some cases. However, brushing your pet’s teeth daily can prevent Periodontal Disease. Routine dental checkups for your pet can also help limit their risk.
The stages of Periodontal Disease are listed below:
Stage I: Gingivitis
Margin of attached gum is inflamed and swollen. Plaque is covering teeth. Treatment can reverse condition.
Stage II: Early Periodontitis
Entire attached gum is inflamed and swollen. Mouth is painful and odor begins to be noticeable. Professional treatment and home dental care can prevent this from becoming irreversible.
Stage III: Moderate Periodontitis
Gums are red and bleeding, the gum is being destroyed by infection and tartar. This may affect eating and behavior. May be irreversible at this point.
Stage IV: Advanced Periodontitis
Chronic bacterial infection is destroying the gum, tooth and bone. Bacteria may be spreading throughout the entire body via the bloodstream and may damage the kidneys, liver and heart.
Dry food and chew toys can help clean teeth, but they don’t always clean at the gum line, which is where most dental problems begin. Brushing your dogs teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs (do not use toothpaste intended for humans) will help keep your pets teeth clean and will help remove and deter plaque and tartar.
It only takes a few minutes a day to brush your dog’s teeth. The outside of the teeth need the most attention and can easily be reached. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly will ensure fresher breath, healthy gums and less expensive vet bills for you in the future!
If you think your dog may have some form of Periodontal Disease, contact your veterinarian right away to schedule a dental check up. Only your veterinarian can diagnose the disease and help you construct a proper, and more importantly, effective treatment plan.