Is Your Pet’s Bad Breath Dogging You?

<b>Is Your Pet’s Bad Breath Dogging You?</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Your pet is a beloved family member. You buy him comfy pillows and squeaky toys, premium kibble and trips to the groomer. But if you’re like most pet owners, you’re neglecting a major part of pet medical care — their mouth.

Oral disease, which includes periodontal disease or gum disease, is the most common disorder in cats and dogs. The internal research team of Banfield, The Pet Hospital (www.banfield.net), supports findings that 68 percent of cats and 78 percent of dogs over the age of 3 display signs of oral disease, including bad breath, pain while chewing, weight loss, yellow teeth, red or swollen gums, missing teeth, nasal discharge or tearing or swelling below one eye. There are four stages of periodontal disease, starting with mild plaque and gingivitis and progressing to major gum recession and tooth loss.

Dogs and cats use their mouths like we use our hands, so dental disease can seriously affect their ability to eat and play. Worse, evidence suggests a link between gum disease and other serious health problems.

“Periodontal disease has also been associated with changes in a pets’ kidneys, liver and cardiac functions,” said Jeffrey Klausner, DVM, MS, DACVIM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield. “In short, unhealthy teeth can lead to an unhealthy pet in ways pet owners can’t imagine.”

Experts emphasize that prevention is the best medicine. For example, Banfield hospitals, most of which are located in PetSmart stores nationwide, include comprehensive dental care in two of their Optimum Wellness Plan options, which are packages of preventive care services. In addition to regular exams, Banfield recommends that pet owners brush their pets’ teeth every day, or at least two or three times a week. Feeding pets firm kibble can help slow down plaque formation, as can dental chew toys and dental-specific water additives.

“In addition to professional cleanings, our veterinarians are trained to provide a manageable at-home dental plan that pet owners can easily follow,” said Karen Johnson, DVM, vice president and client advocate for Banfield. “At Banfield, preventive care is the cornerstone of our practice — to us, proper dental care is just as important to the long-term health of a pet as routine vaccinations.”

For more information or to find a local Banfield hospital, visit www.banfield.net.

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