The Importance of Pet Dental Health
When you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you. That is especially the case with our pets. We can't help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside when we see joy on their faces. But what about the health of their smiles? February is Pet Dental Health Month, and we want to remind you about why you should care about their oral health. Just like we care for our own teeth, it's important that we care for theirs. Read on for more information on what can happen to your pet's teeth and how you can properly care for them.
What Issues Could Your Pet Have
By three years old, many pets have some sort of dental issues. When bacteria, plaque, and tartar build up and get trapped beneath the gum line, this causes dental disease. The bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause major health problems. When dental disease goes untreated, it can cause chronic pain that humans may not notice (as pets are good at hiding pain). Your pet may become irritable, lethargic, and/or have a decreased appetite. Other issues include tumors in the mouth, broken teeth, abscesses, a broken jaw and palate defects.
Pets can develop periodontal disease, which may affect their kidney, liver, and heart. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) describes periodontal disease as “the most common clinical condition in cats and dogs even though it’s completely preventable.”
Some signs to look out for are bad breath, loose teeth, teeth discoloration, abnormal chewing, drooling, and bleeding.
What To Expect At Dental Appointments
Dental screenings can be performed by a veterinarian or a board-certified veterinary dentist. Vets/Veterinary Dentists will perform scaling (removing plaque and tartar), polishing, and possibly x-rays to examine the jaw and roots.
Since pets can become stressed out and squirmy during appointments, dental evaluations are performed while they are under anesthesia. This also minimizes any discomfort your pet may feel during the cleaning. We understand that you may have concerns about anesthesia, however, it is now safer than ever and the benefits far outweigh the risks. If your pet needs any additional surgeries for their teeth, this will also be done under anesthesia.
What You Can Do At Home
To promote good oral health, brush your pet’s teeth every day. Use a special toothbrush or fingertip toothbrush as well as pet-specific toothpaste (human toothpaste can be toxic and pet toothpaste comes in flavors like chicken and peanut butter). For tips on how to brush their teeth, you can watch this video from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
You can check your dog’s mouth periodically to look for signs of health issues. If their gums are white, red, or swollen, then it’s time to schedule an appointment. You can ask your veterinarian for chew toy recommendations. The act of chewing helps clean their teeth by scraping plaque. Be sure to monitor so your pup doesn’t accidentally ingest or choke on anything. If you have a kitty, try our organic Silvervine Metro Bliss Stix. Your vet can also recommend special food or treats.
Be proactive in your pets' health by keeping up with yearly checkups. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so be a responsible pet parent for your pet’s health.