Dental Care for Pets
How do I know if my pet has dental disease?
It is very possible your beloved pet may have dental disease without you realizing it. The most common signs of dental disease are bad breath, red gums, and plaque build-up on the teeth, which can show up as a brown or grey color instead of white. In extreme cases pets can experience facial swelling and pain especially when eating.
Is dental disease a common problem, and why should I be concerned about it?
Yes, it is very common. In fact more than 85% of dogs and cats over 4 years of age have some degree of dental disease. Dental disease is when the gums and other supporting structures around the tooth become inflamed. It all starts when plaque and bacteria adhere to the tooth eventually becoming tartar, which leads to the inflammation of the gums and tissues that secure the tooth to the jaw. This can ultimately lead to pain, abscesses, and tooth loss if left untreated. The build-up of bacteria in the mouth can then enter the blood stream through the vessels in the gums causing infection and disease in other parts of the body including the heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys.
Is there anything I can do to prevent dental disease?
The most beneficial approach for your pet is to take a pro-active stance on dental health care. This can include brushing your pet’s teeth, regular use of an enzyme gel or spray, giving rawhide chews in moderation, and large RAW bones (remove after 1-2 days), all are ways of helping to keep your pet’s teeth clean and free from plaque and tartar build-up.
If your pet has already developed a build-up of tartar, then you will need to have them professionally cleaned by a veterinarian. This usually requires either sedation or anesthesia.
Be sure and ask about dental care for your pet the next time they’re in for an exam. Ignoring dental care for your pet only leads to more serious problems in the long run.