OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Pet owners tend to dread when veterinarians say it's time to give some attention to an animal's teeth, but the Nebraska Humane Society said this is an important step that can't be skipped when caring for a pet.
According to the American Veterinary Association, oral disease is the number one health problem diagnosed in dogs and cats.
Eighty-five percent of dogs and 78 percent of cats three years or older have periodontal disease.
Unhealthy teeth can spread infection and disease to other parts of the body, such as the heart, and cut a pet's lifespan by five years.
A yearly cleaning by a veterinarian is important, but NHS has some tips for maintaining healthy teeth in between visits.
They recommend using a soft baby or pet toothbrush with pet toothpaste to gently brush pets' teeth.
There are also pet chews that can aid in scraping plaque and tartar, as well as freshen breath.
Bad breath, bleeding gums and loose teeth should all be checked out by a veterinarian.