Good oral hygiene is a must for dogs and cats and can become a major pet health issue if not taken seriously. Healthy gums and clean teeth are also indicative of good pet health. Unfortunately, dogs and cats can’t brush their teeth like humans can and therefore, with a few years start developing dental disease that is a major pet health issue. When ignored, dental disease can damage the pet health and lead to pain and much discomfort for the pooch or feline. Slowly, with time, pet health suffers as their dental condition starts to deteriorate with time.
When we brush, the plaque accumulated on our teeth is removed thus, prevent build-up of bacteria. However, since dogs and cats can’t brush their teeth like us, the plaque tends to accumulate on their teeth and as it ages, becomes hard and forms tartar turning into a serious dental pet health issue if left unattended. Plaque is a yellowish colored soft and sticky substance that is actually just bacteria build-up on the teeth.
Plaque and tartar in the mouths of dogs and cats cause teeth decay leading to poor pet health. It can also lead to inflammation of the gums, which is a painful condition, referred as gingivitis. Bacteria inside the mouth can be highly destructive and plaque causes periodontal disease where the roots of the teeth are damaged beyond repair and pet health damaged for ever. Typically, periodontal disease is a pet health issue that slowly progresses to teeth loss if not treated in time.
Unfortunately, periodontal disease can also lead to several other pet health issues. The bacteria that cause dental disease in cats and dogs are also responsible for halitosis or bad breath condition. These bacteria can also enter the bloodstream and spread to the main organs like the heart and kidneys further causing irreparable damage to pet health if not diagnosed on time.
Some of the main factors that contribute to the onset of dental disease in dogs and cats are:
- Improper oral hygiene: a serious pet health issue oversight is not brushing your pet’s teeth. This leads to accumulation of plaque, tartar and progress to other diseases ailing pet health in the long run.
- Diet: Feeding soft and moist food to your pet means inviting bacteria to invade the animal’s mouth. The reason why vets encourage consumptions of dry food is because such food is highly effective in getting rid of the plaque.
- Age: With age, dogs and cats become more susceptible to dental disease.
- Genetics: In some particular breeds, the pet health is genetically vulnerable to dental disease because of the shape of the canine/feline head and the misalignment of their teeth. This is more typically in smaller dog breeds and in cat breeds like the Somali and Abyssinian.
- Concurrent Disease: Dental disease can also become a pet health issue if the dog/cat is suffering from concurrent disease like Feline Leukemia Virus, or kidney disease, or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).
- Chewing Habits: Dogs and cats that are partial to one side of their mouth for chewing tend to have dental disease pet health issue on the unused side of their mouth.
Remember, taking care of your pet health, especially maintaining good oral health can be really challenging. Speak to your vet to find more ways to improve your dog/cat’s oral hygiene.