Furry friends need dental care, too
SUMMARY: Smelly dog breath may be a sign of a larger issue that your pooch is suffering from periodontal disease, which can lead to heart disease and other health issues.
Posted: May 14, 2013
Keeping a fresh, healthy mouth is important to most of us, but sometimes we overlook the importance of maintaining the oral health of our pets. Just like people, dogs that acquire gum disease from improper oral care have an increased risk of suffering from heart disease.
According to research conducted in 2010, Dr. Larry Glickman at Purdue University studied the records of roughly 60,000 dogs suffering from periodontal disease to some degree and another 60,000 that were not. The data showed that dogs with no periodontal disease were about 0.01 percent likely to be diagnosed with endocarditis - inflammation of the heart valves - compared with 0.15 percent of dogs with stage 3 gum disease. Bad dog breath is often caused by gum disease and can be a clear sign that Fido needs to have his teeth brushed.
More recently, veterinarians at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston conducted research on health issues that both dogs and cats go through, considering animals typically live longer today due to advancements in veterinary medicine. According to the vets, roughly 80 percent of dogs and cats older than four can suffer from gum disease, making it the most common disease for these household pets.
Keep a look out
Larger dog breeds unsurprisingly tend to be more aggressive when it comes to chewing on bones, which can lead to fractured teeth. In these scenarios, a dog is susceptible to infection if the pulp canal of the tooth is exposed. Broken teeth can generally be repaired if the damage is above the gum line, but in more severe cases, the tooth may have to be extracted. If a dog is suffering from a broken tooth for an extended period of time, it will not only be extremely painful for him or her, but it may lead to dog breath, gum disease and more severe ailments.
The formation of dental resorptive lesions is marked by the erosion of teeth in felines and can be very painful, as cats have more nerve endings in their teeth than both dogs and humans. According to the vets at Angell, an estimated 65 percent of domestic cats are affected, making early detection vital for overall wellbeing. Although there is no definite cause of resorptive lesions, removal of the affected tooth is common, and cats can typically revert back to consuming dry food because their gums are typically very resilient.
Going to the vet regularly to get your pet's teeth brushed may not make financial sense, but it's still important to make sure their mouths are as healthy as yours. Here are some home remedies for bad breath and gum disease for your four-legged family member:
Daily brushing is ideal to keep your pet's teeth free of dental plaque buildup and their mouth fresh. No one likes bad dog breath! Pet owners should avoid the use of "human" toothpaste, as it could contain ingredients that are harmful to their furry friends. Instead, you should opt for pet-friendly toothpastes. Can't imagine getting your kitten or pooch to calm down long enough to brush its teeth? Dr. Katz for Dogs and Cats Oral Solution can be added directly to your pet's water bowl. You can also put the product into a spray or squeeze bottle and apply it directly to the teeth, gums and tongue.
Dental bones are another great way to keep your pet's teeth and gums healthy. These specially designed chew toys work to control plaque and tartar build up. Dogs have an innate sense to chew on things, and dental bones are soft enough for even the most powerful chewers. This may just help Fido to stop chewing on your favorite pair of shoes, to boot.