Pets are no different than us when it comes to oral hygiene. We all brush our teeth at least once a day and that is one of the first things we teach our kids to do. But, when it comes to our pets, it is safe to say that 99% of us do not see to it that their teeth get brushed. As a result, oral health issues are the #1 problem facing pets.
Just imagine what your mouth would be like if you did not brush your teeth for years. That is likely where most pets are right now. Many times the first sign of a problem is outrageously bad breath. And, it’s not because they had onions for lunch! However, bad breath is just a cosmetic problem that is indicative of an underlying problem in the mouth which results in increasingly painful gums that bleed and a weakening support structure for the teeth.
Unfortunately, most pet owners may not even be aware of the problem until the breath becomes so offensive or their pets have trouble eating because it is too painful….what a sad state of affairs. During this entire degenerative process, the increasing bacteria load in the mouth has been circulating throughout the pet’s body and slowly poisoning them. Unaddressed, these conditions will shorten a pet’s life.
At this point, many times, expensive dental procedures and extractions are necessary. And, by this time, pets have been extremely uncomfortable for a long period of time, maybe even years. Pet owners may think their pet is just getting older and slowing down, when in reality, they are slowly being poisoned.
It is ironic that the vast majority of oral health issues can be avoided or greatly reduced by simply 30 seconds of brushing once a day. However, that will take a seismic paradigm shift in pet owner behavior that will likely be slow to develop, if at all. As a result, the keys at present are oral health awareness on the part of pet owners and some form of convenient, east-to-use, affordable home care. We will be discussing these topics in future issues.