Have you looked in your pet’s mouth lately? Dogs and cats can’t brush their teeth. But foul breath and yellow-brown teeth are not only unappealing they could indicate a serious gum disease. And that can lead to other health problems.

Periodontal disease affects nearly 80 percent of all cats and dogs over the age of three. It starts as bacteria and plaque on teeth and progresses into a disease that can cause tooth decay, bleeding gums, tooth loss and even damage to the heart and other internal organs,” says Dr. Steve Holmstrom, past president of the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS). The American Veterinary Medical Society (AVMA) and several veterinary groups are sponsoring National Pet Dental Health Month in February.

Without proper dental care, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. In fact, oral disease is the No. 1 health problem diagnosed in dogs and cats. The AVDS recommends a three-step program to help prevent oral disease:

STEP 1

A dental exam and, if needed, a dental cleaning by a veterinarian. Your pet can’t tell you if he has a toothache but your veterinarian can. Your veterinarian can determine if tartar build up has started and the appropriate course of treatment.

STEP 2

A home dental care routine that includes regular brushing and nutritious diet. There are specially formulated toothpastes for pets. Toothpaste for humans may upset your pet’s stomach.  There are many natural options available to help keep your pet’s teeth clean.

STEP 3

Regular follow-up veterinary checkups. Every 6 months is recommended.

dog with toothbrushDog Dental Facts

Puppies have 28 temporary teeth that erupt at about three to four weeks of age. They have 42 permanent teeth that begin to emerge at about four months.

Symptoms of gum disease in dogs include yellow and brown build-up of tartar along the gum line, inflamed gums and persistent bad breath.

Broken teeth are a common problem, especially among outdoor dogs. According to veterinary dental experts, aggressive chewing on hard objects, such as commercially available cow hooves, is a primary cause of broken teeth in dogs. Ice cubes are another thing to watch out for.

Cat and toothbrush Dental Facts

Kittens have 26 temporary teeth that begin to erupt at about two to three weeks of age. They have 30 permanent teeth that erupt at about three to four months.

Symptoms of periodontal disease in cats include yellow and brown tartar buildup along the gum line, red inflamed gums, and persistent bad breath.

Cervical line lesions are the most common tooth disease in domestic cats. Studies show that about 28 percent of domestic cats develop at least one of these painful lesions during their lifetime.

Bacteria from the teeth and gums can also enter the bloodstream and may travel to major organs and begin infection there. Among organs that are most often affected are the lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver. Parts of the nervous system may be affected as well. Although these infections are usually treatable when caught at an early stage, they can cause serious damage to these organs and, if not caught in time, may cause death.

Periodontal disease can be prevented and treated. The keys to your pet’s oral health are professional veterinary dental care and good care at home. Too few pets receive both and most don’t receive either. You can change that today!

For more information, go to the AVMA site:

We can also help you get your pet on a natural raw diet too which is nature’s way of keeping a clean and healthy mouth!