Hard to believe, but even the healthiest dogs that I see in my practice succumb to this lurking disease. Top agility contenders, well known search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs and decorated conformation champions have this disease at the peak of their careers.

Even many third generation raw food litters show symptoms by 3 years of age.

What's the biggest disease culprit I see in most dogs, regardless of age, breed, sex and immune status?

Dental disease.

Sound silly? Your pet's oral health is nothing to laugh about. Dental decay is a significant risk to your pet's wellbeing.

If not addressed immediately and thoroughly, dental disease can strip your pets of not only their teeth, but their overall health, allowing billions of harmful bacteria to enter their bloodstream and affect multiple other organ systems.

Recognizing your pet needs dental care is the first step. But  awareness is just the first step.

How to Tell if Your Dog Has a Serious Dental Health Problem

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80% of dogs show oral distress by age 3. It's one of the most common health issues treated in animal health clinics today.

And one of the most common signs of serious oral and dental issues is bad breath -- or what's called halitosis.

I don't consider so called 'doggy breath' to be necessarily normal.

So, if your dog has bad breath, I would recommend a trip to your family veterinarian (preferably one who is proactive and practices holistic medicine) for a good oral exam.

It's best you don't put this off any longer as the bad breath could indicate both serious tooth and gum issues. Your 'best friend' could already be suffering without you even knowing it.

Would you purposely risk your dog's life simply because you were told you could easily clean their teeth and make their breath smell better by giving them a potentially toxic treat to chew on?

Of course you wouldn't...

And yet, what if I told you every time you give your dog some food or one of those high-tech dental chews for cleaning their teeth (without reading the list of ingredients on the package first), that's exactly what you might be doing -- putting your dog's life at risk?

Just for fun -- pick up a package of one of those popular 'green' dental chew bones for dogs and read the ingredients next time you're at the pet store.

© Copyright Dr. Joseph Mercola, 2010. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, as long as copyright, contact, and creation information is given, only if used only in a not-for-profit format. If possible, I would also appreciate an endorsement and encouragement to subscribe to the newsletter. If any other use is desired, written permission is required.

Here at The DogSmith we reccomend healthy treats that can help prevent serious tooth and gum issues. Learn more about heathy dental treats by clicking here.

Porkhide Bones are safe and healthy alternative to rawhide treats. Rawhides are cured with harsh chemicals (like ash-lye solutions and bleach) and are known to cause choking, throat irritations and intestinal blockages. Why risk the safety of your precious dog on an inexpensive product, when there’s a better option?

Our Porkhide Bones are gourmet chew treats made with 100% natural pork skin and have a lasting, mouth-watering flavor your dog will love! These yummy treats are naturally high in protein, low in fat and are highly digestible.

The shape of the bone fits inside the mouth for maximum contact, which helps promote healthy teeth and gums. And they are safe for dogs of all ages. Your dog will love these safe, healthy and delicious treats!