February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and we felt it was important to shine a spotlight on this critical area of your pet’s overall health and well-being! We’ve laid out a few important, and some may say, surprising facts about your puppy’s oral health.
MOST PUPPIES WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH GUM DISEASE
Approximately 80% of dogs will have periodontal gum disease by reaching 3 years of age. This disease is certainly preventable, and every effort should be made to do so since there’s a chance your pup has incurred irreversible damage by the time they’ve been diagnosed. Ensure your pet receives an oral health exam at least once a year by their veterinarian and maintain regular brushing in between.
MOST DENTAL DISEASE IS INVISIBLE
Most dental diseases are hiding where you can’t see them. Invisible bacteria sits below the gum line and can damage the tissues connecting the teeth and jaw. It’s so important to have your veterinarian take the time to do a thorough oral exam once a year.
NO, YOUR DOG’S BAD BREATH IS NOT NORMAL
Many people believe that smelly breath is a normal aspect of owning a pet, especially in dogs. If your fur baby has “doggie breath,” it could be a sign of gum disease or other ailments, and you should have the symptom looked at by a veterinarian. Here are other signs your pet’s oral health may not be so “fresh”:
- Redness of the gums
- Loose teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Broken teeth
- Tenderness around the mouth and/or teeth
- Drooling or dropping food
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Loss of appetite/poor appetite
- Weight loss
BRUSHING YOUR DOG’S TEETH REGULARLY IS IMPORTANT
The AMVA recommends brushing your pup’s teeth daily, if not at least 3-4 times a week. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush when cleaning your pup’s teeth. NEVER use human toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth. Instead, use store-bought “doggie toothpaste” or at least some water.
GOOD ORAL HYGIENE CAN ADD YEARS TO YOUR DOG’S LIFE
Taking proper care of your dog’s teeth and mouth can add 1-2 years to your pup’s life. If dental disease is left untreated, harmful bacteria can make their way from your pet’s gums and into their bloodstream, leading to many health issues! Stay on top of regular oral check-ups and daily, if not weekly, brushing to help your pet maintain quality oral hygiene.