National Pet Dental Health Month
Dental problems in dogs and cats are more common than people think. Despite the fact that about 98% of vets recommend dog owners to clean their teeth, only about 2% actually apply this advice. In addition, research has shown that 80% of dogs older than three years have dental problems, while only 23% of dog owners indicate that their four-legged friend has a dental problem. To raise national awareness for this problem, February has been declared National Pet Dental Health Month.
Dental problems in dogs are often caused by plaque and tartar, in addition to trauma (e.g. tooth breaking). Plaque (also called dental plaque) is a barely visible layer that forms continuously on the teeth. It consists of food debris, mucus and bacteria. When it is not removed, plaque calcifies to tartar. You can help remove plaque yourself; tartar can only be removed by your vet. Anyone who has ever seen or smelled a dog with dental problems will know how important it is to take good care of a dog’s teeth. If the dog’s teeth are neglected, the animal may even lose teeth. Much worse, your dog’s health is endangered by dental problems. Complaints can range from bad breath to tooth loss or even inflammation in important organs such as heart, kidneys and liver – with all the consequences that entail.