We’re celebrating Pet Dental Health Month this February at Tej Dhaliwal Veterinary Group. For the whole month, we’re offering specials to help keep your pet’s teeth in tip-top shape.
The Dangers of Poor Pet Dental Hygiene
Pets who don’t receive proper dental care are at risk for more than just bad breath—although that’s the first sign you’ll likely notice if your pet has periodontal disease. Also referred to as dental or gum disease, periodontal disease can not only cause gum recession, infection, and tooth loss, but also changes in the heart, kidneys, and liver.
Periodontal Disease in Pets
Plaque forms on teeth (pet and human alike) constantly. When it’s not removed regularly (through brushing), it changes into hardened tartar, which can’t be brushed away. Plaque continues to form on top of the tartar.
Plaque changes into hardened tartar within about 24 hours.
Eventually, if these layers of bacteria-laden tartar aren’t removed through a professional veterinary cleaning, the pet will end up with inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), which will progress to infection and loss of tooth support (advanced periodontal disease).
Signs of Dental Trouble in Pets
Contact your Tej Dhaliwal veterinarian if you notice any of the following:
- Bad breath
- Brown or yellow teeth
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Broken or loose teeth
- Reluctance or refusal to eat
- Dropping food from the mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Pawing at the mouth or face
Bad breath in pets isn’t normal. It’s almost always a sign of oral issues.
Steps to Keep Your Pet’s Mouth Healthy
- Schedule a Professional Dental Exam
Bringing your pet in for annual veterinary dental exams and cleanings is the first step to achieving better dental health for your dog or cat.
By 3 years of age, most dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease. When pets don’t receive regular dental care, they may need more than just a cleaning. Dental extractions may be required to remove infected teeth and make a pet’s mouth healthy again.
During your pet’s dental exam, we’ll check your pet’s teeth and gums and let you know what we recommend to maintain or improve your pet’s oral health.
- Make Home Care a Priority
You play an essential role in your pet’s dental health. Brushing your pet’s teeth is one of the most important ways you can help keep periodontal disease at bay.
Never use human toothpaste in pets! It contains ingredients that can make your pet sick.
Although daily brushing is ideal, we understand that it may not always be possible. Fortunately, you have a number of dental products to choose from that can also help control plaque and tartar buildup in your pet:
- Special dental diets and chews
- Dental toys
- Oral rinses and sprays
- Drinking water additives
- Dental sealants (which your pet’s vet will apply first, after a cleaning, and then need to be reapplied at home)
Not all dental products are created equal. Look for products with the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance, and ask us what products we recommend.
Dental Care for Older Pets
Pets tend to experience worsening periodontal disease as they age. Because dental disease can affect the heart, kidneys, and liver and older pets are already prone to developing problems with those organs, dental health becomes even more important to maintain.
By being proactive about dental care, you can help protect your pet’s overall health.
Schedule Your Pet’s Dental Exam Today!
At Tej Dhaliwal Veterinary Group, we’ll create an individualized dental health plan for your pet. Make an appointment today!
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Pet dental care. https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/pet-dental-care
- Dental health: how to brush your pet’s teeth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB3GIAgrTPE
- Pet dental care. https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/pet-dental-care
- Periodontal disease. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6gNkXpRZkE
- Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Community practice: keeping your pet’s teeth clean is important to their overall health. http://csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/vth/small-animal/community-practice/Pages/pet-dental-health.aspx
- Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). http://www.vohc.org/
- VOHC® Accepted products for dogs. http://www.vohc.org/VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Dogs.pdf
- VOHC® Accepted products for cats. http://www.vohc.org/VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Cats.pdf
All accessed January 29, 2020.