As pet owners, we are all committed to the health and happiness of our furry loved ones. Many of us don't realize that dental health care is a very important part of their overall health. The brown build-up you see on their teeth, red gums and stinky breath is not a normal part of being a cat or dog, it's actually detrimental to their overall well-being. Our goal during Dental Health Month is to bring awareness to the importance of dental care for all of our pets.
Why care for your pet’s teeth?
For the same reason you care for your own. The most common disease in pet animals is periodontal disease. They are also subject to broken teeth, orthodontic problems and even cavities. All of these problems will affect your animal’s mouth, obviously, but can also lead to the infections that introduce bacteria into other parts of the body. In other words, bad teeth can lead to a sick animal. Evidence continues to mount that chronic infection or inflammation in any part of the body can have serious negative impact on systemic health.
Do cats and dogs feel pain like us?
Many owners tell us that they did not notice any change in their animal’s behaviour, so they assumed they were fine. This isn’t surprising. Our pets are ultimately descended from wild animals. It does a wild animal no good to advertise the fact that it is sick, or to stop eating because its teeth hurt. Most animals simply adopt a stoic attitude to chronic pain. But if you’ve ever had a chronic tooth ache, you know the meaning of pain. Studies have shown that dogs and cats have pain thresholds that are almost identical to humans.
What can you do about your pet’s oral or dental health?
Plenty. The first step is to look in your pet’s mouth, on a regular basis. If the gums appear red or inflamed, if there’s a foul odour, if you see pus at the gum line or broken teeth – see your veterinarian right away. He or she will assess the problem and formulate a treatment plan. The longer term solution is to look after your pet’s teeth with regular brushing and checking – just like you do with your own.