Pet Dental Care: Why it Matters, and What You Can Do
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.
The Numbers Are In
By the time most dogs and cats reach their third birthday, dental disease, in some form or another, is one of the most common conditions we see and treat in our patients.
Dental disease, also known as periodontal or gum disease, is an infection of the soft tissue and supportive structures of the teeth due to a buildup of bacteria along the gum line. Untreated dental disease can cause a host of problems for your pet, including severe pain, tooth loss, and even damage to major organs as the bacteria works its way into the bloodstream.
Does My Pet Have Dental Disease?
If your pet has one or more of the following symptoms, they may be suffering from dental disease:
- Foul breath (bad doggie or kitty breath is not normal!)
- Excessive drooling
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Broken, loose, or discolored teeth
- Pawing at the mouth
- Loss of appetite/difficulty eating
Home Pet Dental Care
Brushing your pet’s teeth at home should rank right up there with making sure they have fresh water in their bowl and getting their daily dose of snuggles.
Brushing your pet’s teeth may seem like a daunting, if not impossible, task, but we assure you that with patience and consistency, many pets can learn to tolerate daily tooth brushing. Your veterinarian will be happy to demonstrate proper technique, and provide you with tips and recommendations.
It Takes a Village
Like so many aspects of your pet’s health, pet dental care requires a team effort between you and your trusted East Sacramento Veterinary Center team. We check your pet’s teeth and mouth at every wellness exam (1-2 times per year depending on age and overall health), but the majority of dental disease is hidden below the gum line. Because of this, we also recommend comprehensive pet dental exams and cleanings, which include dental scaling and X-rays under safe sedation.
The Importance of Pet Dental Care
The effort you put into your pet’s oral health today can pave the way for increased health, vitality, and a longer life tomorrow! Please contact us for more information, or to schedule a pet dental appointment.