How often do you brush your teeth? Imagine if we brushed our teeth as often as we brush our pets teeth… That would be rather gross, right?
Here are a few ways dental health can both benefit and extend your animal’s life.
First of all, bad breath affects the entire family. No one wants to snuggle up to a dog with stinky breath. By having healthy teeth and gums, you are more likely to spend quality time with your pet, which makes everyone happier!
Taking a deeper look into oral hygiene in pets, unhealthy teeth can lead to disease throughout the rest of the body. The bacteria that builds up along the gum line goes directly into the blood stream, causing infectious cells to travel through the body spreading toxins and bacteria. These harmful cells enter their organs, especially the filtering organs such as the liver and kidneys. It can overwhelm and damage the tissues in these organs. When the liver or kidneys are not working at its fullest potential, it means other systems are not able to function at their best either. We start to see digestive upset, lethargy, and early signs of aging. When their body’s are fighting infection, the nutrients he or she needs are being utilized to combat the issue and are taken away from usual tasks like keeping their energy levels up, skin and coat maintenance, and dietary needs. The heart is greatly affected as well, seeing that it pumps blood to the rest of the body. Poor oral health creates a bigger risk for heart disease, liver issues, and kidney failure, which are all potentially preventable if we, as pet owners, are aware of how it works. It can greatly extend your pets life.
A happy mouth means a happy animal. When their teeth are in bad shape, so is their attitude. We will see behavior changes such as defensive biting, whining, appetite loss, excessive grooming of themselves, or destructive chewing. Typically, we might think some of this behavior is training related or unidentifiable, but sometimes it is more than that.
The best way to ensure your pets overall health is to continue (or start!) with daily brushing, healthy chew toys, annual veterinary visits, dental cleanings, and talking with your vet about what they think the best action to take for your pets specific needs.