In an effort to promote good care for your cat or dog’s mouth, February has been designated as National Pet Dental Health Month. We at Southside Animal Hospital are proud to participate in this national effort to improve the oral health of your beloved furry family member.
Did you know that dental disease is one of the most common preventable diseases that our pets, both dogs and cats, can have? A lot of people think that ‘s normal for their pet’s breath to smell bad or for teeth to fall out as they age, but it’s not! 85% of dogs and cats over 4 years of age have some degree of dental disease.
Dental disease starts with plaque buildup, then develops into gingivitis, and can progress to serious, painful infections along the root of your pets’ teeth also known as periodontal disease. Diseases of the mouth can also include tumors (cancer) and broken teeth.
Regular (at least yearly) examinations of your pet’s mouth by one of the veterinarians at Southside Animal Hospital can help to detect early signs of dental disease. Regular dental cleanings under general anesthesia with a full oral examination, oral radiographs as needed, and appropriate treatment will help to keep your pet’s mouth, and the rest of his or her body, healthy.
Some signs of dental disease include:
- Bad breath—Most pets have breath that isn’t minty fresh, but if it becomes really bad, that’s a sign that periodontal disease has already started.
- Frequent pawing or rubbing at the face and/or mouth.
- Reluctance to eat hard foods.
- Red swollen gums and brownish teeth.
- Swellings on the face.
In addition to in-clinic dental cleanings, at-home care is vitally important to keeping your pet’s mouth healthy. Daily brushing with animal specific enzymatic toothpaste is best. Dental chews, diets specific for dental disease, and oral rinses can also help to slow the development of plaque and tartar. We also have a product that is a plaque prevention gel. When applied weekly, it will help to reduce the amount of plaque and tartar that build up and may decrease how often your pet needs a dental cleaning.
Please call us today to set up your pet’s oral examination and dental cleaning! We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your pet’s veterinary care team!