Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of three. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.
Why does my pet need dental care?
Dental health is just as important for dogs and cats as it is for people. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will deteriorate the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and expensive oral surgery. Bacteria can also cause serious, potentially fatal infections in your pet’s kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. Unless your pet just ate something fishy, stinky breath isn’t normal. Having a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s teeth regularly and clean them as needed will help prevent dental disease and any related problems.
How do I know if my pet has dental disease?
Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have symptoms of dental disease, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate their dental health at least once a year. Common signs of dental disease include:
- Yellow or brown buildup (tartar)
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at their face
- Loose teeth
How can dental disease affect my pet?
Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body - bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems aren’t caught and treated quickly enough, they can result in death. A physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if the infection in the mouth has spread to other parts of their body. We can also help show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup. To book your pet’s next dental appointment, please contact us at 204-346-1429.