Got Bad Doggie Breath?

The oral hygiene of your pet can affect it's overall health.
By Bud Groth

Here’s an idea to chew on: thousands of dogs and cats die every year from anesthesia complications, especially when they go in to get their teeth cleaned.
    
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age 3. Besides causing receding gums and tooth loss, the infection may enter the bloodstream, potentially infecting the heart, liver, and kidneys. “Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets,” says Dr. Henry Childers, DVM, and president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
    
What are the symptoms indicating potential problems? Bad breath, pain around the mouth, swelling or irritation of the gums, bleeding, swelling around the jaw or nose, fever, lethargy, pain when eating, or refusal to eat.
    
A solution: Until recently, the only way to remove plaque and tartar has been a visit to the vet for a dental cleaning. This usually involves the use of a general anesthetic, and that can be a problem. Anesthetic reactions can cause injury and even death. Statistics indicate that more than 50,000 dogs and cats die every year, and 1.3 million are injured (some permanently), just from anesthesia.
    
“Fortunately, we now have an additional tool in our dental tool chest,” says Dr. Joann Baldwin, DVM for 30 years at Cardinal Animal Hospital. “Now there’s a safe and efficient way to control plaque and tartar without your pet undergoing anesthesia.”
    
“Safe and effective dental health products, like PetzLife and VetzLife Oral Care ($23, 2.2 oz, petzlife.com), are part of the missing link in holistic pet health care,” states Animal Doctor syndicated columnist Dr. Michael Fox. Used daily, these natural sprays and gels can help remove plaque and tartar, control bacteria and eliminate bad breath—and you don’t have to brush! The active ingredients are 100 percent natural and perfectly safe for dogs and cats.