AVMA: "Doggie breath" could be a sign of serious disease
(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) February 3, 2020—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 their internal organs as well.
To address the importance of oral health care for pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is sponsoring National Pet Dental Health Month in February. AVMA President Dr. Douglas Kratt 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. Kratt. "In addition to causing receding gums, tooth loss and often significant pain, bacteria in the mouth can enter 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.
Although daily tooth brushing is advised for dogs and cats, a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry showed that only 2 percent of dog owners follow through with this practice. In addition, a survey of pet owners showed that only 14 percent of dogs and 9 percent of cats receive dental care at the veterinarian's office. 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.
Talk with your veterinarian about any dental products, treats, or dental-specific diets you're considering for your pet, or ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.
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 media relations manager, at 847-732-6194 (cell/text) or msanfilippoavma [dot] org.
Serving more than 100,000 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members' unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.