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Want to save money on your veterinary bills?
During Pet Dental Health Month, the AVMA reminds pet owners that preventive dental care is always less expensive than oral catastrophes
(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) January 30, 2013óItís an integral part of your morning routine. Still half asleep, you step up to your bathroom sink and pick up your toothbrush. Unfortunately, many pet owners donít make it a habit of providing good dental hygiene for their pets, too. Pet Dental Health Month, sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), is reminding pet owners that brushing their petís teeth can result in long-term savings.
"Good pet owners are concerned about their petsí health and are careful to keep their vaccinations up to date, but may forget about the importance of oral health. Great owners know that this is a big mistake, as periodontal disease is the most common health problem that veterinarians find in pets,Ē explains Dr. Douglas Aspros, president of the AVMA. ďDental health problems are extremely common, and many are very painful and can lead to serious systemic conditions. I remind pet owners that an untreated dental infection can spread to the heart, kidneys and other organs, and suddenly become life threatening. Practicing good dental hygiene at home in addition to regular cleanings by your veterinarian is the most efficient and cost-effective way to extend your petís life, while keeping them comfortable and pain-free.Ē
ďCorrecting dental health problems can be expensive. If your veterinarian diagnoses your pet with tooth or gum disease, they may recommend that your petís teeth be professionally cleaned, x-rays may be called for, and itís possible that a tooth or even multiple teeth may need to be extracted,Ē explains Dr. Brook A. Niemiec, a board certified veterinary dentist and president of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry. ďUnfortunately, only about 1 percent of pet owners brush their petís teeth. Not only do more pet owners need to brush their petís teeth, but they should also use chew toys, treats and rawhides to help keep their petís teeth clean. There are a number of inexpensive and highly effective products available that can help keep your petís teeth clean between professional cleanings. If you have questions about the right products to use, consult your veterinarian.Ē
A list of Veterinary Oral Health Council approved products is available at www.VOHC.org.
While regular dental checkups are essential to help maintain your petís dental health, there are a number of signs that dental disease has already started. If you notice any of the symptoms below, take your pet into your veterinarian as soon as possible:
*Bad breathóMost pets have breath that is less than fresh, but if it becomes truly repugnant, thatís a sign that periodontal disease has already started.
*Frequent pawing or rubbing at the face and/or mouth.
*Reluctance to eat hard foods.
*Red swollen gums and brownish teeth.
To help pet owners prevent periodontal disease, the AVMA offers a video providing step-by-step instructions on how to brush your pet's teeth and a video onperiodontal disease. The AVMA website also has a webpage on pet dental health that offers links to an informative podcast and other information resources on pet dental health.
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I'm a pet groomer and not very many pet owners (even really good pet owners) seem to think that dental care is that important. Yes a lot of them do have me brush their dogs teeth which helps but I have several people that I've told them for years that their dogs have very bad teeth that is beyond just brushing and really need to have a professional cleaning and they don't do it. I don't brush my dogs teeth even close to as often as I should, but I do check their teeth often and make sure they have plenty of things to chew on. Nebo is almost 11 and his teeth look great, he's never had them cleaned, and I've never had the vet say he needed it. I actually just had him in for a check up a month ago and the vet said they look fine. Skya is going on 5 years old and her teeth look like that of a 1 year old dog (to be honest I've seen 1 year old dogs with worse teeth sadly). I do think small dogs have a bigger problem with their teeth for sure, but its possible to keep them in good shape. You wouldn't believe how disgusting some dogs teeth get, sometimes they will literally smell up the entire salon with their breath, I don't know how people can stand it. :o Not to mention how much pain the poor dog is in. I've had an absessed tooth, it hurt so bad I couldn't sleep, I always think about that when I see dogs with awful teeth.
Clients just don't "get it". They don't understand that dogs and cats are not supposed to have 3 inches of tartar on their teeth or that their breath isn't supposed to clear out a room. Even if they don't want to dedicate time to brushing them (heck, I forget to brush my own dog's teeth, and forget about even trying to brush my cats'!!), then they at least need to consider getting a dental. And there are products emerging on the market (oral sprays) that are actually pretty effective (most stuff OTC is just a waste of money). Some clients don't want to put their pets under anesthesia... but the risk of anesthesia is far outweighed by complications from a bad mouth (rotting teeth, sepsis, and in severe cases, heart problems!!) if left untreated. YES, even in older pets, anesthesia is still the lesser risk!!!
They don't "get it" that just because their pet isn't acting like its in pain doesn't mean that its not. There are more than a handful of clients that weren't entirely convinced that their pet needed a dental, because the pet was "acting fine", but did it anyway (usually the wife wanted to do it and the husband wasn't convinced it was necessary). One week after the dental we would call to check on the pet, and the client would tell us that they are acting like a brand new dog or cat!! It's amazing how they will act once they aren't in pain anymore!!!
And the REAL kicker... how would these owners feel if THEIR mouth looked or smelled like that? They would be in immense pain and would rush to their dentist. But they don't understand that it's very similar for their pets.
So... my clinic now is an AAHA clinic and we offer 20% off dental procedures for Jan, Feb, AND March. Dental health is VERY important. Again, even if you can't dedicate time to brushing your pet's teeth... please listen to your vet if he or she suggests a dental procedure and take a look at your pet's mouth and think, if that were YOUR mouth, what would you do? Because your pets have no say in the matter. Do what's best for THEM! :D
AMEN!!!! I have also seen quite a few horribly disguising mouths, it's so sad :(
Originally Posted by Jessika
Hi This is a great post.I have a learn new thinks from here.I impressed by the quality of good information.
Dental care for dogs
Dental care for pets is as important as human dental care since we are not only sharing everyday of our lives with them but they are part of our family and need respect and a good care as well. Starting with a balanced and healthy food, ending with periodical visits to the veterinary will help you and your dog to have a happy life.
Cats, not so much.
I have been brushing my dog's teeth but have not been successful with my cats. :rolleyes: It is like wrestling alligators to get a hold on the cats and never can their little mouths open wide without the claws coming out to harm me! My last cat cleaning episode, at the Vet's, cost me $730.00. Ouch. (For one cat including a few extractions, thus excess time and charge).
I have been brushing Fister's teeth the last 2-3 years of his life... well, actually only the front ones, he simply would not let me brush the others, but instead, I brushed the outside of his mouth along the gums with a rubber brush. That made him clean them with his tongue.
The first few years we had him, it was impossible to even get hold him! We had to drug him to get him into the box, and that was difficult enough, since he could often smell the pill in his food.
The first year, we fed him anything he liked, like Whiskas canned food, but after learning about the different foods available, we changed his diet to dry. We took him to the vet once a year for a check-up, and he did have his teeth cleaned also, and a few extractions when necessary.
Unfortunately, I agree that many don't even think about attending to their cats teeth, but I'm trying to pass on what I learned on PT. :)