NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Let's face it—we steer clear of bad breath! We brush and floss daily, and we avoid a smelly mouth at all costs. It is widely known that bad breath isn't just unpleasant but is a sign of poor dental hygiene and potential dental problems. But what about our pets? Sometimes our dogs and cats have the smelliest breath of all, yet many pet owners believe it is acceptable. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130208/CL57019-INFO ) (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110719/CL37418LOGO ) The same attitude people apply toward bad breath should apply to our pets' breath as well, but oftentimes it doesn't. According to a study commissioned by The GREENIES® Brand, makers of the #1 vet-recommended pet specialty dental chews and treats 1, 1 in 3 pet owners believe that bad breath in pets is completely normal. 2 Bad breath, however, is not normal and is a strong indicator of serious oral disease in a pet's mouth. This indicates how misinformed pet owners are about their pets' oral health, and supports the often-heard statistic that by age two, most pets have oral disease. "While smelly breath in pets is common, pet owners who believe this is normal are missing the signs of poor oral health or potential dental disease," said Dr. Brook Niemiec, a board certified veterinary dentist and President of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry. "By the time a pet owner becomes aware of their pet's bad breath, it is likely that dental disease has been present for an extended period of time, and a visit to the veterinarian is imperative." Bad breath in pets stems from bacterial plaque accumulation. The bacteria that work their way under a pet's gum line create gingivitis and, if left untreated, result in periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a serious dental condition that affects a pet's whole-body health.