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Maintaining Your Pet's Dental Health is Important!

A surprising statistic for many pet owners is that a whopping 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of periodontal disease (affecting the teeth and gums) by age three!  In fact, according to the American Animal Hospital Association, roughly two-thirds of pet parents admit that they do not provide recommended preventative care of their pets' teeth.

So what's the big deal with your pet losing a few teeth or having bad breath?  The answer is two-fold.  First, beyond pain and difficulty eating, poor dental health can lead to many more serious veterinary conditions that can be severe enough to take the life of your pet.  For instance, bacterial infections that get out of control in the mouth of a dog or cat can migrate to the bloodstream, threatening damage to vital organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys.

Secondly, the cost of managing oral health outside of preventative care can be eye-opening.  Without proper maintenance, the interval between the need for dental cleanings is dramatically shortened.  According to a recent survey by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., the average cost of a dental cleaning rose to over $164 last year.  Gum and/or tooth infections can add an additional $238 to the tab!
 
The good news is that there are more products available than ever that are effective in keeping your dog or cat's smile sparkling!  If your pet will allow it, a toothbrush and pet toothpaste are fantastic tools for daily maintenance of healthy teeth and gums.  Most pet toothpastes are geared toward your pets' tastebuds and contain special enzymes that help break down plaque once applied.

However, brushing some dogs' or cats' teeth is a total pain and they will have nothing of it!  Thankfully, there are a number of products that can keep your pet's teeth and gums in great shape without having to brush.  Water additives such as Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygeine Solution fight plaque while your pet drinks, while ProDen Plaque Off is easily added to food and fights oral bacteria from the inside out!  Dental toys or treats like Zuke's Z-Bones for dogs, or Greenies (for dogs and cats) also help to keep plaque and tartar under control when you reward your pet.

Just remember that whichever product you choose, consistency is the key.  When used according to directions, pet dental health products are a cost effective way to help whip dental disease and defeat bad breath before it starts!