Does your dog or cat have dental disease?

September 7, 2019

Dogs and cats get plaque on their teeth just like we do. Plaque is made of proteins (from saliva) and bacteria and if the plaque is not removed every day, the bacteria will multiply rapidly and invade the gums around the teeth. The result is gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). If the plaque is allowed to accumulate, the inflammation of the gums will spread to the bone around the teeth and initially cause mild periodontal disease with progression to severe periodontal disease with bone and tooth loss. Pets with periodontal disease are more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease as well as other forms of bodily organ damage. Periodontal disease is shown to have a relationship with heart disease, because bacteria from the mouth constantly enters the bloodstream and adheres to the heart valves.

How do you know your pet has Dental Disease?

The first thing you can do at home is to simply look for signs of dental disease. Lift your pet’s lip, and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does my pet have smelly breath? This is one of the early signs of periodontal disease.
  2. Does your precious cat or dog have red or swollen gums?
  3. Are your companion’s teeth yellow, brown, loose or missing?
  4. Is your pet’s appetite normal? Is he or she having trouble chewing hard food or treats? Have they lost weight?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, your pet could have periodontal disease. But don’t worry, we can help

Dental Disease Prevention
Periodontal disease can be prevented, treated and even reversed if caught early. Together, we can protect your faithful friend against the havoc of periodontal disease by remembering the following:

  • Brush your pet’s teeth regularly to help reduce plaque, a sticky film that contains bacteria.
    • Be sure to use toothpaste that is formulated for animals.
    • Human toothpaste contains foaming agents which can upset your pet’s stomach and fluoride is also not needed, as dogs and cats don’t usually get the same kind of cavities people do.
    • The paste should be pressed down into the bristles, so the pet doesn’t lick it off the brush.
  • Give your dog chew toys and consider dog food specially formulated to address dental disease.
    • Chews that have been awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal of Acceptance are recommended – speak to one of our vet nurses to find out which ones we recommend.

Ideally, you should visit us at least once every six months so we can evaluate your pet’s oral health. Our vets will be able to answer questions about home dental care, as well as advise you on the frequency with which your pet should receive professional cleanings. Generally, pet’s teeth should receive a professional descaling and polishing every 12 -18 months. But if you are worried about your pets teeth now, why not book an appointment with us for a professional dental clean. This will reduce bacteria and help guard against periodontitis.

Remember, if your pet is showing any of the symptoms highlighted above then he or she is probably in pain, so it’s best to get them seen by one of our vets as soon as possible.

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