It's widely known that bad breath isn't just unpleasant, but a sign of poor dental hygiene and potential dental problems. But what about our pets? Sometimes our dogs and cats have the smelliest breath of all and yet many pet owners believe this is okay.
In fact, one in three pet owners believes that bad breath in pets is completely normal, according to a study commissioned by the Greenies Brand team, makers of pet dental chews and treats.
Experts say that the same attitude people apply toward bad breath should apply to our pets' breath as well.
"Your pet's breath is a barometer of their oral health. Bad breath is a sign of poor oral health and potential dental disease," said Dr. Brook Niemiec, a board certified veterinary dentist and president of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry. "By the time a pet owner becomes aware of their pet's bad breath, it is likely that dental disease has been present for an extended period of time."
Bad breath in pets stems from bacterial plaque accumulation, which comes from regular activities like eating meals and fetching slobbery toys. The bacteria work their way under a pet's gum line to create gingivitis. If left untreated, this could result in periodontal disease, a serious dental condition that affects a pet's whole-body health.
It's time for pet owners to get serious about pet dental health, as three-fourths of dogs and cats over age 3 have oral disease, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
"If your pet has bad breath, a visit to the veterinarian is crucial," Niemiec said.
Fortunately, pet owners can reduce the risk of bad breath in pets through daily tooth brushing or by giving dental treats. Dental treats help owners keep their pets happy while maintaining their prolonged oral health.
To ensure the treats will be effective in fighting plaque and tartar buildup, opt for those approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
Don't forget to manage your pet's oral and overall health with regular visits to the veterinarian and with professional dental cleanings as advised.