Whew! One whiff of your canine or cat’s foul mouth odor should be enough to set off a red flag that something is wrong. Just as in humans, the tell-tale sign of bad breath in pets usually signals the onset of plaque and tartar build-up. And that means action is needed.
Studies show than an overwhelming 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. Bad breath is an early warning of disease, signaling the onset of plaque, tartar build-up, and gingivitis. Left unchecked and untreated, these conditions lead to gum disease, loss of teeth and, even worse, the resulting harmful bacteria can enter the pet’s bloodstream, ultimately causing infection or damage to kidneys, lungs, heart or liver. And the older the pet, the more likely gingivitis and periodontal disease is present. So serious are these conditions, they can shorten a pet’s life.
Recent health stories demonstrate that poor human oral health is linked to heart disease and other serious medical conditions. Like people who neglect their oral care, ignoring bad breath in pets is a potential danger to the overall health of the pet. Should the pet’s teeth show signs of browning or the gums lose the healthy pink color and become swollen and red, an invasive vet teeth scaling may be called for. However, since this procedure is performed under anesthesia, it poses potential threats to the pet’s life, especially for senior pets.
Rather than neglecting a pet’s oral health, pet guardians should be alert to bad breath in their pets and take quick steps to remedy the situation. Consistent oral care with daily maintenance helps avoid deteriorating pet oral health. Hard, dry food, chew toys, even a pet tooth brushing may not reach the spaces between teeth and gum tissue. Another, even easier option, is in directly applying an effective cleansing solution in the pet’s mouth at least once a day.
Since it is the daily care that protects the pet’s mouth health, pet guardians have found leaving the cleansing solution bottle near the TV remote control or by their own toothbrush/toothpaste are best reminders to use the cleansing gel every day, a highly visible memory-jogger to take care for the pet’s mouth just as they would their own.
In selecting a cleansing solution, pet guardians are well-advised to look closely at the ingredients in it. Many pet breath fresheners contain alcohol which can further irritate gum tissue and increase pets’ resistance to daily oral care.
Instead, look for one that is alcohol-free, contains all-natural ingredients and a bacteria-killing zinc amino acid complex, proven to be effective for freshening pet’s breath and killing harmful mouth bacteria on contact. It should be taste-free, without any artificial flavors.
Finally, look for a product’s ease of application which encourages daily use. A drop or two applied directly into the pet’s upper molars and the dog or cat’s natural salivary action spreads the cleansing gel around the mouth for cleaner, whiter teeth, fresh breath and, most important, works to head off the harmful bacteria growth that develops into teeth and gum disease. The ultimate test: the pet readily accepts the cleansing solution and spreads it around its mouth without pause.
Daily care is the first line of defense to guard against the bacteria that causes bad breath and leads to more serious oral and general health problems, especially as pets age. Wise pet guardians know that checking and treating the pet’s oral conditions are as important as protecting the health of those who love them.