Did you know February is dental awareness month? It is important to educate yourself and take the steps to get ahead of dental disease in your pets. With a few helpful tips and tricks your cat or dog can have beautiful, healthy, kibble chomping and toy chewing pearly whites.
Dental disease is very common. It occurs in approximately 80% of pets over the age of three and can be caused by a handful of different things. The most common reason is due to the buildup of plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth. This plaque can then harden onto the tooth and cause irritated and inflamed gums. As a pet owner it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of potential periodontal disease and learn how to prevent and treat this common ailment.
Help keep Fido and Whiskers healthy and be sure to check your cat’s and K9’s canines.
Signs & Symptoms
There are multiple different ways to determine whether your pet may have or be close to developing periodontal disease. If your pet has any of the following you should consider taking them to the vet for a professional’s opinion:
We often use the words “dog breath” to describe the bad smell coming from your pet’s mouth.
Your pet’s breath won’t always be minty fresh, but particularly foul-smelling breath can be an
early sign of periodontal disease.
Most dogs are known for drooling, but if you notice Fido drooling more than usual
this can be due to a buildup of tartar which is rubbing against their gums and lips.
Pawing at Their Mouth
Often pets will communicate discomfort in physical and visual ways. If you notice your pet constantly pawing at their face, they may be trying to tell you that they have a tooth ache!
If your pet becomes reluctant to eat or is dropping kibble from their mouth while eating, they may be developing or have periodontal disease. Always consult your veterinarian as periodontal disease is just one of the many possible causes of a change in your pet’s appetite.
The Best Treatment is Preventative Care
Let your pet sink their teeth in a chew toy or gnaw on a dental chew! The abrasive action
of chewing will help scrape away plaque and tartar on the surface of your pet’s teeth.
Dogs on a raw diet might enjoy chewing on raw, meaty bones. Supervise them at all times to ensure what they are chewing on is still safe. Start brushing your pet’s teeth at a young age. The more comfortable they are with this, the easier it will be for you and your vet to keep Fido and Whiskers healthy. Be sure to use a pet friendly toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for pets. Do not use human toothpaste – it contains ingredients that can be toxic for pets. Talk to your veterinarian at your pet’s regular annual checkup about their dental health. Most dogs will benefit from a professional cleaning either annually or every two years.