Are you getting your dog’s dental health advice by word of mouth? Dr. Andrea Sanchez, the Medical Director of Hospital Operations at Banfield Pet Hospital in Portland, OR was willing to fill me in about the facts of dental disease in dogs. She is promoting good oral hygiene by teaming up with Greenies dental chews for National Pet Dental Health Month which takes place in February.
“All across the country Banfield Pet Hospital is teaming up with Greenies dental chews to raise awareness about pet oral health and most importantly how pet owners can best care for their pets teeth- both at home and at the vet clinic,” Dr. Sanchez said in a Feb. 7 video interview.
Dr. Sanchez explains that dental cleanings are not just about cosmetics. Often dental disease in pets can lead to infections elsewhere in the body- not to mention constant, nagging pain in a dog’s mouth.
“Dental disease itself is a very prevalent disease. A study at Banfield Pet Hospital found that 91% of dogs over the age of three have dental disease. It’s also the most common diagnosis in cats,” said Dr. Sanchez. “We’ve actually had some studies that found that dental disease is correlated in some pets with kidney disease, liver disease and even chronic heart disease.”
Dogs are people pleasers and rarely show their owner that they are in pain. Dr. Sanchez says that not only are dogs usually not able to show that they are in pain but they even try and hide it from their owners. Tooth decay can lead to extractions and costly vet bills if left untreated.
So what about doggy breath? It is widely believed that all dogs have doggy breath and that it is a normal aspect of their hygiene. Dr. Sanchez explains that is just not the case- in fact bad and consistent doggy breath is a sign of an oral infection.
“Any time it lasts more than an hour it’s a bacterial infection in the mouth,” Dr. Sanchez said. “If they just ate something funny and their breath smells like that it’s probably a passing thing.”
Although some breeds of canine- like the Pomeranian and the miniature Poodle- are more susceptible to dental disease Dr. Sanchez reminds pet parents that “the thing to remember is all dogs get dental disease as they get older, so no dog is immune.” She recommends the three step “Flip, check, treat” process for all dogs that she demonstrated in the video above. These easy three steps will get the dog used to having its mouth touched and help maintain oral health between teeth cleanings at the clinic.
By flipping the lip, getting checked and rewarding with a dental chew like Greenies pet parents can start their own dental disease prevention plan with their pet. Dental cleanings at the vet can be expensive but Dr. Sanchez reminds pet parents that “there’s nothing more affordable than prevention.” Dr. Sanchez recommends one Greenies dental chew per day but advises to check with the vet to make sure this dosage is right for your dog.
Just for fun I asked Dr. Sanchez if a dog’s mouth is really cleaner than a human’s mouth. Laughing she said “the answer is it’s mostly a myth- it depends on the dog and it depends on the person. If you maintain good oral hygiene in your dog and in yourself a little kiss on the lips here and there is not going to cause a problem in most cases.”
Check out the video of Dr. Sanchez illustrating the “Flip, check, treat” steps. Banfield Pet Hospital offers affordable Optimum Wellness plans to maintain dental hygiene.