Dental care of dogs and cats is one of the most commonly overlooked areas of pet health care. The American Veterinary Dental Society reports that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. Dental disease doesn’t affect just the mouth. It can lead to more serious health problems including heart, lung and kidney disease.
A pet’s bad breath isn’t something to be ignored – it could indicate an oral problem, and the sooner you have it treated by your veterinarian (and learn to care for it yourself), the sooner you and your pet can smile proudly. Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth. It starts out as plaque, which starts out soft, and brushing or chewing hard food and toys can dislodge it.
If left to spread, plaque can lead to an inflammation of the gums, where they become red, swollen, and they can bleed easily. This is called gingivitis, and professional cleaning will be needed to help manage it. If the plaque and tartar buildup continues unchecked, infection can form around the root of the tooth, which can then lead to a very painful eroding and loose teeth.
Thankfully, these problems can be avoided before they even start, by having regular oral examinations and dental cleanings, starting from a young age. As your pet grows, your veterinarian will watch closely to make sure the teeth and gums are developing correctly. Starting when your pet is around 2 years old, it is recommended that you have your veterinarian clean their teeth. This procedure requires that the pet be placed under anesthesia, which will be carefully monitored during the entire process. Dental tools similar to those used on humans are used to clean and polish your pet’s teeth.
Above and below are "Before and After" photographs taken by CVT Allie, of dogs whose teeth she cleaned recently. It is easy to see the difference it makes! These dogs' teeth are whiter, healthier, and now their breath will also smell better!
Home Dental Care
You can also protect your pet’s teeth by brushing them regularly. Ask us for information about how to brush, how to train your pet to tolerate brushing, and what tools to use.
Remember... pets can live longer, healthier lives if dental health care is managed and maintained throughout their lives.