Friday, March 5, 2010

Question: My dog's breath is horrible

Dear Gregory,

Dental care of dogs and cats is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care. In fact, a recent AAHA study showed that approximately two-thirds of pet owners do not provide the dental care that is recommended as
essential by veterinarians.

Dental disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Unfortunately it can lead to more serious health problems including heart, lung and kidney disease, which makes it all the more important that you provide your pets with proper dental care from the start.

Henry’s doggie breath or Sally’s terrible tuna breath can be indicative of an oral problem. Dental disease causes the mouth to have odor, painful gums and potentially tooth loss. However with routine dental care at home and help from your veterinarian, dental disease can be prevented.

Keep your pet from becoming a victim of dental disease:

Home dental care – As a pet owner you play a pivotal role in helping ensure your pet’s dental health through regular brushing. Taking time to brush your pet’s teeth daily helps remove bacteria from your pet’s mouth. Utilizing dental care products like Hill’s T/D food or CET rawhide chews can prevent the excessive build up of tartar.

A routine dental exam with your veterinarian
— At your pet’s yearly or bi-annual physical, have your veterinarian inspect your pet’s mouth. Ask if there are any signs of dental disease, what stage of disease your pet may be experiencing and what you can do to prevent it from worsening in the future.

Schedule a professional dental cleaning
– Your veterinarian may recommend a dental cleaning under anesthesia. This dental cleaning is more thorough and can get under the gum line to remove tartar. At this time your veterinarian can extract or repair any diseased teeth. Make sure your veterinarian does a preoperative blood screening prior to the dental cleaning. This screening will alert your veterinarian to any potential anesthesia risk.

Watch When Henry met Sally on SVHtube. Go to Make a pledge in the comments section to provide your pet with a happy healthy mouth in 2010.

Thomas Schaeberle, VMD

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