Understanding Periodontal Disease in Pets: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

up close exam of dog.

Did you know that pets suffer from dental problems just like people do? East Sacramento Veterinary Center is a huge advocate for the importance of pet dental health care. We feel that understanding pet gum disease and dental problems is important for all pet owners.


The Importance of Regular Dental Check-Ups

Brushing french bulldog teeth.

Bad breath is one signal that pet owners should never ignore or accept as normal. Aside from the repellent quality of halitosis, it is directly linked to gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease. It’s also worth mentioning that this stage is the only time that periodontal disease can be stopped in its tracks. Left alone, this common, yet aggressive disease can eventually cause unnecessary suffering, tooth loss, and even systemic illness.  


Signs of Dental Problems in Pets: What to Watch For

Brushing dog's teeth.

Our pets need routine veterinary dental examinations to protect their pearly whites from the dangers of dental conditions like periodontal (gum) disease, gingivitis, oral neoplasia, and ulcerative stomatitis. These problems impact 7 out of 10 cats and 8 out of 10 dogs by the time they reach age 3. 

Most of these problems are preventable with appropriate dental care and intervention as quickly as possible when signs of dental disease are spotted.


Pet Dental Care: Why it Matters, and What You Can Do

Pet dental care.

Providing for our pet’s needs is seemingly simple; nutritious food, warm shelter, basic veterinary care, plenty of exercise, and lots of love is a recipe for a happy and healthy pet. Most pet owners are more than happy to take good care of their furry friends, but one aspect is often overlooked: pet dental care.

Although you wouldn’t go days, weeks, months, or years without brushing your teeth or visiting the dentist, (hopefully!) it’s easy to overlook a pet’s oral health. The truth is that pets need dental care as much as humans do, and ignoring it can lead to disastrous health consequences.


Do Pet Dental Chews Really Work?

dog playing with pet dental chew toy

There is much ado about dental treats and chews that promise to give your pet a healthier smile and good breath. The lure to rely heavily on these treats can be tempting for pet owners who dislike the doggie halitosis and want to avoid brushing their pet’s teeth (ah, the struggle). The team at East Sacramento Veterinary Center is here to separate fact from fiction when it comes to pet dental chews, as well as recommend some ways to keep your dog’s pearly whites in great condition.


A Photo Finish: How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth 

A dog's teeth being brushed

Pets don’t exactly have to be camera ready, but when it comes to their teeth, good habits do matter. That’s because plaque and tartar can lead to much bigger problems for them. In fact, dental disease is the most common health condition in pets, bar none. 

The good news is that a simple plan of routine oral health at home coupled with regular dental exams and cleanings is extremely effective at preventing dental problems. And when you think about avoiding a painful mouth, tooth fracture and loss, and bacterial infections that can lead to organ failure, it’s so worth it. 

With East Sacramento Veterinary Center’s simple tips for how to brush your pet’s teeth, you can start building a habit that can give your pet a lifetime of good health. 


What Can Owners Expect During a Pet Dental Exam?

A small dog at the vet for a cleaning

A normal part of your pet’s wellness exam involves looking at the condition of the teeth and gums. The presence of tartar, cracked teeth, or reddened gums can definitely lead us to suspect that bigger problems are at play. Because the damage caused by periodontal disease occurs below the gum line, however, a pet dental exam gives us greater access to understand the extent. 

Starting Early

Young animals lose their baby teeth when adult teeth grow in. A pet dental exam can be helpful to ascertain if the teeth are growing in normally. At this point, we can also help owners establish good practices at home. We can also look closely for any of the following: