Do you consider yourself a good dog owner? Is Fido not only the happiest pup on the block, but also the healthiest?
There are nearly 44 million U.S. households that own approximately 74 million dogs. Although many of these owners treat their dog more like a family member and less like an animal, most are unaware of one of the biggest health risks for their dog.
Periodontal disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. In fact, more than 80 percent of dogs have it by the time they are 4 years old.
Periodontal disease begins when bacteria and food debris build up along the dog’s gum line. Plaque is created and, soon after, tartar forms on the teeth. Eventually the gums swell, and pockets form that can trap bacteria and lead to more serious problems.
“Doggy breath, loose teeth, bleeding gums, mouth pain and even infections in the heart, liver and kidney are signs of advanced periodontal disease,” says Jan Bellows, DVM and owner of Hometown Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic in Weston, Fla. “To avoid these health problems, owners must take steps to care for their dog’s teeth-much like they care for their own.”
Only one in five owners have ever attempted to brush their pet’s teeth and only 2 percent brush with enough frequency to maintain proper oral health.
In addition to brushing, Dr. Bellows uses ORAVET™, a plaque-prevention gel that stops disease-causing bacteria from attaching to the teeth. It is the only sealant available on the market.
After an in-clinic cleaning, the sealant is applied to the dog’s teeth, creating an invisible barrier that reduces bacterial plaque adhesion. Owners then apply the odorless, tasteless homecare gel to the dog’s teeth once a week. It typically takes less than a minute to apply.
“As a veterinarian and as a pet owner, this gel gives me a valuable tool in preventing oral disease in dogs,” says Dr. Bellows. “It’s easy to use and is a perfect complement to tooth brushing, dental diets and dental chews.”