Smelly doggie breath can be annoying. And dog owners will go to great lengths to eliminate or cover it up. But be aware — pet oral care goes beyond preventing bad doggie breath. Poor gum health allows nasty bacteria to make a beeline straight for a pet’s circulatory system, which can have harmful effects on vital organs.
Periodontal disease, the leading health condition affecting three-fourths of dogs and cats age three or older, is often the result of pet owners not regularly providing at-home oral care and veterinary assessments and treatments. Plaque on pets’ teeth forms as bacteria and food particles coat the teeth and develop a biofilm. If not cleaned off, plaque irritates the gum line and can cause gingivitis and harden on the tooth surface to cause tartar. With more accumulation, gingivitis may progress to periodontal disease. Diseased gums can act as a bacterial superhighway into the circulatory system of the pet and may ultimately adversely affect vital organs.
“Gum disease, which research tells us can affect more than just a pet’s mouth, is initiated by plaque accumulating on teeth and not being cleaned,” said Dr. Jan Bellows, veterinary dental specialist and incoming president of the American Veterinary Dental College. “The good news is every pet parent has the power to keep their pet’s teeth clean and gums healthy. It starts with daily at-home oral care with brushing or Veterinary Oral Health Council (www.vohc.org)-approved dental products. And each pet should have a veterinary oral exam at least annually with professional cleanings as advised.”
Pet owners will be thrilled to know that Greenies Brand recently introduced a canine dental chew that carries the Veterinary Oral Health Seal of Acceptance for reduction of plaque and tartar build-up and is clinically proven to help maintain healthier gums. These fifth-generation chews by Greenies use a highly palatable, natural recipe with added vitamins and minerals, are nutritionally complete and balanced and are available in veterinary clinics and pet specialty stores nationwide.