Am I the only person who missed the memo on toothbrushing for cats and dogs?
80 percent of dogs and 70% of cats over age 3 show signs of gum disease, and less than half of dog and cat owners are brushing their pets' teeth regularly.
Dogs and cats don't commonly get cavities like humans, but our pets are susceptible to gum disease just like adults. It starts with plaque on the teeth, which leads to red/swollen/painful/bleeding gums, which eventually leads to tooth loss. Plus, this infection can spread to other areas of the body, causing kidney, liver, and/or heart problems.
Our 5-year-old dog's teeth are in great shape, because he eats at least one compressed rawhide stick per day. We were merely using the rawhides to get 15 minutes of peace so we could eat supper, and didn't know they were ideal for dental cleaning until recently. Raw bones are also good.
But our two 8-year-old cats have developed red/swollen gums. Our vet recommended dental cleaning under anesthesia -- and one cat needs two teeth extracted -- for a total cost of over $600!
Unmet consumer need: better products and instruction on dog/cat dental preventative care.