According to research by the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop periodontal disease by the age of three, a condition which can be prevented by regular at-home tooth brushing.
So in observance of National Pet Week, taking place from May 6 to 12, here are several reasons for brushing your dogs’ teeth:
- Brushing a pet’s teeth regularly can extend her lifespan. “Periodontal disease is a serious condition that causes gingivitis, loss of teeth, pain in the mouth and possibly even serious infections in the internal organs,” said David Steele, a veterinarian with Advanced Animal Care in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. Preventing periodontal disease by brushing a dog’s teeth regularly can reduce the occurrence of these conditions and increase a dog’s lifespan.
- Brushing helps eliminate “doggie breath.” Bad breath in dogs is often caused by periodontal disease, and brushing regularly can help prevent and correct this.
- Brushing at home reduces the chance a pet will have to be anesthetized to have his teeth cleaned. Not only is there a slight health risk in having a pet anesthetized for a complete cleaning by your vet, but the procedures can be costly, as well. “By brushing your dog’s teeth on a daily basis, we may be able to help reduce and perhaps even eliminate the need for having your pet anesthetized by your veterinarian for a more thorough cleaning,” Steele said.
- Brushing equals bonding. Though at first a pet may seem uncomfortable and you may feel awkward with brushing, it’s possible that they will grow to enjoy the additional time spent with the owner.
- It’s relatively easy. “While to some folks brushing your dog’s teeth may be a daunting task, it doesn’t really need to be,” Steele said.
Anyone with questions about how to properly brush a dog’s teeth should consult a veterinarian.
For more dog dental health tips, click here.