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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Community > Blogs > Admin > Dog Dental Care

Brush Em’ – Repercussions of Poor Dog Dental Care

August 11, 2011 -

What would happen if you never brushed your teeth or stopped seeing your dentist regularly? Picture bad breath, plaque buildup, and possible infections.

The same goes for our four-legged friends. But tartar buildup on your pet's teeth can cause much more than bad breath.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association. By the age of three, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop gum disease — the most common disease for cats and dogs — and studies have shown that there’s a direct link between the severity of gum disease in dogs and their risk for certain types of heart disease.

Tartar is essentially an accumulation of bacteria that, if left untreated, can lead to infection. Your pet’s mouth, just like ours, is a direct link to all the major organ systems in the body, and infection in the mouth can quickly enter the bloodstream and affect the heart, kidneys, intestinal track and even the joints.

To prevent the potential dangerous impacts of gum disease‑caused health problems, you’ll not only want to avoid feeding your pet soft or sticky foods but also engage them in a regular oral hygiene regimen. Make sure to use toothpastes that have been specifically formulated for animals. These products are safe for your pets because they are designed to dissolve, unlike human toothpaste, which if swallowed can upset your pet’s stomach, and are flavored to his liking.

It’s best to start cleaning your pet’s teeth at a young age, but if you’re already beyond the puppy or kitten phases, you can start getting your pet accustomed to an oral hygiene routine just by rubbing a piece of gauze around your finger and over his teeth and gums. You can gradually transition to an animal toothbrush or finger toothbrush.

In some cases, the tartar may be past the point that just doing at-home care can make an impact, and you may need to talk your veterinarian about bringing your pet in for a teeth cleaning. Teeth cleanings can be costly because your pet will be anesthetized.

Visit us in store or online at petsmart.com/grooming for more information about grooming.

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