My Teen is Losing Her Sweet Smile! What You Should Know About Bad Breath in Dogs and Cats

ImageMy sweet and adorable teenager has terrible breath and is losing her smile. This perky and inquisitive thirteen year old Maltese suffers from dental disease. I knew her kisses and breath were not as sweet as they once were, but I was not prepared for the condition of her teeth and gums at a recent check-up.

Director of Veterinary Services for the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, Denise Dietsch D.V.M. showed me the toll tartar build up has taken on my tiny pet. Dr. Dietsch was not surprised at the damage; she says dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats, affecting 91 percent of dogs and 85 percent of cats over the age of 3.

If your pet has bad breath be aware it is most likely due to tartar buildup on the teeth, which often leaves odor-producing bacteria behind. Small bits of food can remain in your pet’s mouth and these particles create an environment where oral bacteria flourish.
There are other indications your cat or dog could be suffering from dental problems:

• Difficulty chewing
• Decreased appetite
• Increased salivation
• Changes in food preferences

Dental issues range from mild inflammation and tartar, to significant inflammation and tooth loss. Left untreated, severe dental issues can lead to bacterial infections that can spread through the bloodstream and damage other organs including the heart, kidneys and liver.

Professional dental assessments and cleanings are important for pets. There are also some daily treatments at home aimed at prevention:

• Dental chews
• Specially formulated food to combat tartar
• A schedule of regular pet teeth brushing- daily or at least three times a week

Specially formulated pet toothpaste and brushes are also available from your veterinarian or pet store. Professional teeth cleaning should be done annually by your veterinarian.
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3 thoughts on “My Teen is Losing Her Sweet Smile! What You Should Know About Bad Breath in Dogs and Cats

  1. Danita,

    This is great!

    Jennifer

    Jennifer Blome

    Director of Humane Education

    APA of Missouri

    1705 S. Hanley Rd.

    St. Louis, MO 63144

    314-645-4610 ext. 120

  2. Good advice! Max doesn’t much like the daily toothbrushing routine even with “poultry flavored’ toothpaste but he gets brushed anyway. One of these days I plan to invent beer flavored toothpaste for people.

  3. Hi Danita,

    If this is something you wanted to observe, I think its easy to get into the Rec Center from the parking lot.

    We have 6 volunteers, and myself and a couple of dogs coming, so it might be an easy one to observe, if you’re interested.

    FYI.

    Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you Sunday. 🙂

    Jennifer

    Jennifer Blome

    Director of Humane Education

    APA of Missouri

    1705 S. Hanley Rd.

    St. Louis, MO 63144

    314-645-4610 ext. 120

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