Does your sweet pet have sour breath? That odor coming from your pet’s mouth could be more than a nuisance; it could signify a serious health risk with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but its internal organs as well.
To address the importance of oral health care for pets, the AVMA is sponsoring National Pet Dental Health Month in February. AVMA President Dr. Ted Cohn says regular dental exams are an integral and primary component of a pet’s overall health care, and can help prevent more serious health problems.
“Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for our pets,” said Dr. Cohn. “In addition to causing receding gums, tooth loss, and often significant pain, bacteria in the mouth enters the bloodstream, potentially affecting the heart, liver and kidneys, which can be life threatening.”
According to the American Veterinary Dental College, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease by the age of three, often indicated by bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and mouth and depression.
In addition to professional dental care, Dr. Cohn advises pet owners to make oral home care part of their pet’s routine as a way to prevent tooth decay.
Although daily tooth brushing is advised for dogs and cats, only 2 percent of dog owners follow through. In addition, 65 percent of dogs with stage one periodontal disease often go untreated. Pet owners can work with their veterinarians to begin a pet dental care routine at home in addition to regular dental exams and professional dental cleanings.
To learn more about dental care for pets, including an instructional video on brushing pets’ teeth, visit avma.org/petdental.
For more information, contact Michael San Filippo, AVMA senior media relations specialist, at 847-285-6687 (office), 847-732-6194 (cell), or email@example.com.