It’s hard to believe the concept of caring for pet dental health – it is something relatively new to the pet owning public. Many clients will say, “Why does my pet have a problem with its teeth? I’ve owned dogs or cats all my life and never had a problem before.”
There are many potential factors possible that might relate to that kind of statement. Recent studies have shown that most pet owners are not aware of potential problems with pet dental health, or do not follow their veterinarian’s recommendations for dental health.
First, veterinarians have recently (in the past 25 years) started to realize the importance of good dental hygiene in the overall health of a pet. Severe dental disease can cause bacteria to be introduced into the body to cause infections internally on heart valves, in the liver and within the kidneys. The periodontal disease creates pain and infection in the mouth and can lead to weight loss with difficulty or inability for the pet to chew its food. A clean, healthy mouth allows a pet to thrive and live a better quality of life much longer than a pet whose mouth is severely infected and neglected.
Secondly, the diet and lifestyle of pets has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. Previously, a dog or cat lived most of its life outdoors and would chew on sticks or bones and might even catch and eat small animals. Today, most pets live a very comfortable, indoor lifestyle with only leash walks or trips to the dog park to occasionally play. The further domestication of our pets has led to more problems with their mouths, and they now require more frequent dental care as well as preventive home care to keep their mouths healthy and free of disease.
Lastly, the genetic modification of certain breeds over the years has led to pets with malocclusions or teeth that don’t seem to fit properly in their mouths. Most of the shorter muzzled (brachycephalic) breeds have an underbite of varying degree with their lower jaw protruding beyond their upper jaw. This does not allow the teeth to mesh properly and clean debris off as the pet chews. Smaller breeds seem to have more problems with their mouths as they are less likely to chew on things that would help keep their teeth cleaner.
There are other factors possible that may have led to the need to pay more attention to pet dental health. Hopefully this will bring more awareness to have your pet’s teeth checked regularly so that their teeth can be kept clean and their mouths healthy. See our Coupons section for our dental cleanings!