CATAULA, Ga. — By age 2, an estimated 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of gum disease.
As National Pet Dental Health Month gets underway in February, Vets are urging pet owners to get their pets’ teeth examined.
The first sign of trouble is bad breath.
Veterinarians say poor oral health can affect a pet’s vital organs such as the kidneys, liver, and the heart.
“And the access for bacteria into the body to cause infections or damage in those areas is often through the mouth, more specifically through the blood supply in the gums which is where the disease is located in the mouth,” said Dr. Frederick Blackmar of Cataula Veterinary Hospital.
Dr. Blackmar says pets should have an oral exam once or twice a year, preferably twice. Teeth cleaning, under anesthesia, is an option for younger pets.
In addition to brushing your pet’s teeth, there are other steps pet owners can take to help protect their pet’s teeth. They include special dog food, water and food additives, and special chews. Check with your vet.
Other signs you should watch out for include bleeding gums, seeing blood on chews or difficulty eating.