Withholding Veterinary Dental Care – Animal Abuse?
We have been discussing pet dental care at length lately and I would like to raise the question ‘Is withholding veterinary dental care from pets, abuse?’
Think about it…. if you chose not to take your child for dental checkups and treatment when required, you are committing child abuse. If dental neglect is classed as child abuse – where do we stand on the dental neglect of cats and dogs? What is the difference?
4/5 dogs and cats over the age of 3yrs are currently suffering from some sort of dental disease, that is 80% of pets. We use the word suffering because dental disease can be painful – red inflamed gums, broken teeth, nerve pain, infection, bone loss…my teeth are hurting just talking about it. Luckily for me I can tell someone when my teeth are hurting, I can pick up my mobile phone and call my dentist!
Pets however have no voice, most are also brave and stoically continue to play and run, eat and drink even though their gums and teeth are a continual source of discomfort – their evolutionary goal is survival after all. This coupled with our natural instinct to respond emotionally to what we can see i.e. I see my dog eating vs I cannot see the inflammation/blood/plaque inside my dog’s mouth, causes owners to continually shrug off the pet’s need for routine dental care.
Overall though, if the companies producing home pet dental care products are anything to go by – more people must be trying preventative dental care because there seems to be a new dental chew/paste/powder or rinse on the market every month. This is positive news for pets! But veterinary research has proven over and over that there will always be certain breeds that need more dental care than others.
This is a list of the top 10 offenders for periodontal disease in dogs –
- Toy Poodle
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Standard Poodle
Now for cats – Persians and Abyssinians are the worst choices for those that choose to neglect pet dental care. So, if you don’t want to book them in for veterinary dental intervention – perhaps not the right pet for you? Of course, dental disease isn’t limited to these breeds exclusively but more prevalent in them.
Let’s take pet dental care out of the ‘too hard basket’ and put it into the ‘quality of life basket’, yes along with the flea/worming/vaccination/sterilization requirements…. goodness me pets are a big responsibility, aren’t they? Working in a vet clinic I often see pet parents at the end of their beloved pet’s life shattered and shaking, fare welling a member of their family – never just a dog, never just a cat, family. Make your family’s quality of life a non-negotiable, make dentist visits the norm even for fur family!
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