Helping Your Pets Take a Bite Out of Poor Health | Health
(Welcome to our pet column, courtesy of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla. We post a new article each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
Dog owners who think a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s are barking up the wrong tree — and they are not alone. In fact, according to a recent survey, many pet owners have beliefs about their pet’s health that are not accurate or grounded in science.
For example, the study — commissioned by the Greenies brand, the maker of dental chews and treats for pets — found that almost half of pet owners believe that dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans’ and that any type of chewing is good for a dog’s teeth.
It also found that about 40 percent thought it was normal for their pets to have stinky breath. About one-third of pet owners believed that a dog’s saliva was capable of curing human wounds.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding a pet’s oral health,” said veterinary dental expert Dr. Jan Bellows, incoming president of the American Veterinary Dental College. “Dogs’ mouths are certainly not cleaner than a human’s. Dogs often carry a variety of germs and bacteria in their mouths that stem from buildup of plaque and tartar that can potentially make humans sick through contact with saliva.”
The Right Kind of Chewing
“Many pet owners also believe that any type of chewing is good for their dogs, but tooth fractures are a common occurrence in pets because teeth can only withstand a certain amount of pressure from hard objects before they break. When pets chew on inflexible items, such as bones, ice cubes or nylon toys, it can put them at risk for breaking a tooth. And while smelly breath in pets is common, pet owners who believe this is normal may be missing the signs of poor oral health or potential dental disease,” Dr. Bellows said.
A Healthy Mouth is Key
A healthy mouth is essential to the overall well-being of pets, but misguided information about pet oral health can affect more than just your pet’s mouth. For proper pet oral health, veterinarians advise daily brushing or giving of Veterinary Oral Health Council−approved dental treats, and at least annual oral exams by a veterinarian with professional cleanings as recommended.
“Pet owners who are knowledgeable about their furry companions’ oral health will avoid the pitfalls of commonly held myths and enable the best care for everyone’s well-being,” said Dr. Bellows.
To learn more about commonly accepted pet oral health myths and how to keep your pets’ mouths healthy, visit www.Facebook.com/greenies.
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pet-Connection-Programs-inc-Marilla-NY/114420508616511?ref=ts. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)