Smile it's National Pet Dental Health Month
Much like how we have to care about our oral health, our pets have to have clean mouths to reduce the risk of oral diseases. Do you know the signs of early of potential oral diseases in your pet or how to spot causes of an already existing disease? This blog will highlight what to look for in your pet’s oral health and how to treat any potential problems.
Checking the Oral Health of your Cats and Dogs
There are a few telltale signs that your dog or cat has poor oral health. If you notice any of the following, it is recommended that you see veterinarian for an oral check-up.
- Bad breath
- Teeth that are discoloured or covered with tartar
- Loose or broken teeth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Extra teeth
- Retained baby teeth
- Pain in or around the mouth
- Abnormal chewing, drooling or dropping food from the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
When self examining your pet’s oral health, please be mindful that they may feel pain or discomfort which can result in a reactive bite. If you think the pain is severe, or even if you aren’t sure, bring your pet to your veterinarian to avoid any risk to you or your pet.
Causes of Dental Problems in your Pets
The most common dental problem that cats and dogs face is periodontal disease. By the age of 3, your dog or cat will more than likely have early evidence of periodontal disease and it will only get worse as they grow older if you don’t seek effective preventive measures.
There are many different factors that go into determining the severity of your pet’s periodontal disease. When you bring your pet to a veterinarian or a board certified veterinary dentist, they can make recommendations on what your next steps should be in treating the periodontal disease.
Other causes of dental problems in your pets include:
- Broken teeth and roots
- Abscesses or infected teeth
- Palate defects
- Broken or fractured jaw
- Cysts or tumors in the mouth
- Misalignment of teeth and bite
Taking Care of your Pet’s Teeth at Home
It is highly recommended that you get your dog or cat’s teeth cleaned professionally once a year. In the meantime, you should also clean your pet’s teeth at home. Cleaning their teeth daily, or at least several times a week, will reduce tartar and plaque buildup, it can even eliminate the need for an annual cleaning from your veterinarian.
Dogs are more likely to accept regular brushing, but most cats won’t like it, not at first at least. Talk to your vet about the best practices for cleaning your pet’s teeth properly at home.
In addition to regular brushing, feeding your dog raw fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples will also help prevent tartar build up. Adding chopped up parsley to their meals will help freshen their breath. Giving your dog raw meaty bones or ropes toys to chew on are also a good way to help them clean their teeth. Just be sure to supervise them with these items to avoid injury.
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Let’s use this month to get our pet’s teeth cleaning on track to ensure they lead a happy, healthy lifestyle. Remember to ask for assistance from your veterinarian if you need further instructions on how to properly take care of your pet’s oral health.