Tired of Doggy Breath? Prevention Is Key to Protect Pets From Oral Disease

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 your cat or dog’s medical care – his mouth.

Oral disease, including periodontal or gum disease, is the most common disorder in cats and dogs. The internal research team of Banfield, The Pet Hospital, supports findings that 68 percent of cats and 78 percent of dogs over the age of three 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. In advanced cases, gum disease can lead to bone infections.

Dogs and cats use their mouths like humans use their hands, so dental disease can seriously affect a pet’s ability to eat and play. Worse, evidence suggests a link between gum disease and other serious health problems, like kidney, liver and heart disease.

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.

Ask your veterinarian for help designing a manageable at-home dental plan. When it comes to your pet’s long-term health, proper dental care is just as important as routine vaccinations.

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

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