The Importance of Doggy Dental Care

by Mary Grace

Mimee and Louey, two of our president Karen Lynn’s precious pups, had their teeth cleaned on Thursday. Some people think that getting an animal's teeth cleaned is silly, but in fact it’s far from it---in fact, it’s downright necessary. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by the age of only three. What is oral disease? It’s more than just bad breath, that’s for sure; in fact, it can be deadly to your pet. The buildup of bacteria in a pet’s mouth can get into their bloodstream, and from there it can infuse their vital organs and nervous system with infections. Needless to say, this is not a good thing for you or your pet.

So, what can be done to prevent this?

To get started, take your dog or cat to your vet for a dental exam so that you know exactly where they stand right now in terms of dental health. The vet can then tell you where to go from there. Be sure to ask your vet to recommend the best food and chew toys for your dog’s health and needs, as well as a special toothpaste specifically for pets. You can also make your own toothpaste for them by mixing a paste from baking soda and water; never use human toothpaste! Don’t use a human toothbrush either; buy a pet toothbrush or wrap some clean, soft gauze around your finger. Ask your vet to show you the best way to brush your pets’ teeth, and how often it should be done for them.

Continue to get your pet’s teeth and gums checked by a vet at least once a year, and take them in for a visit immediately if they have worse breath than usual, tartar covering their teeth, loose or lost teeth, excessive/uncharacteristic drooling, dropping food, discomfort being touched near the mouth, and bleeding from the mouth.

Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and your pet deserves a healthy smile too!