Why Pet Oral Health Check-Ups are Important
Numerous studies show a link between gum disease and severe health issues like heart disease. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), bacteria can enter your pet’s bloodstream from their teeth and mouth causing pain and potentially leading to infections of your pet’s heart, kidneys, and liver.
February is National Pet Dental Health Month, an excellent time to discuss the importance of pet oral health, its effect on your pet’s overall health, and best pet dental care practices at home. Let’s get right into It!
The American Animal Hospital Association’s pet oral health guidelines recommend regular examinations and dental cleanings for all adult dogs and cats starting at one year for cats and small-breed dogs, and two years of age for larger-breed dogs. Of course, this varies by individual pet, so it’s important to discuss detailed care with your veterinarian.
Only 14 percent of dogs and 9 percent of cats receive dental care at the veterinarian’s office. – National Pet Owners survey
Pet Dental Health Tips
Symptoms of Hidden Pet Oral Health Issues
Your pets can’t tell you directly that their teeth hurt, so you might not realize they have a serious dental issue until it’s too late. If your pet is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed, please schedule an appointment with your vet right away!
- Bad breath
- Drooling more than usual
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Discoloration/suspicious looking spots on their gums
A dental exam is the best way to identify issues before they have a serious impact on your pet’s oral health. Your veterinarian will observe your pet’s face, gums, cheeks, and palate to identify any dental health concerns and recommend cleaning and/or specific treatment.
Brushing For Better Breath
Bad breath can indicate periodontal disease in both people and pets! Regular brushing helps keep your pet’s teeth healthier and their breath better, so those wonderful pet kisses won’t take your breath away.
Preventing Tooth Loss
Decay and gum disease can cause tooth loss in animals. This condition can be very painful and may cause serious health problems. Regular dental care saves you money in the long run and can help prevent tooth loss.
Maintaining Good Pet Oral Health
Gum disease is one of the three most common diseases in cats today.
- Brushing your cat’s teeth daily is best, but a minimum of at least 2-3 times a week; avoid human toothpaste, but select a pet-specific kind. These will come in flavors that your pet will accept (fish and poultry). It is recommended that you ease into brushing over 1-2 months.
- Have your vet recommend cat dental-specific treats, water additives, or other products to reduce plaque and calculus.
- Have your vet check your cat’s teeth and gums at each visit.
Approximately four out of five dogs over the age of three have some sort of periodontal (gum) disease.
- Brush your pup’s teeth – daily is best, but minimum at least 2-3 times a week; avoid human toothpaste, but select a pet-specific kind. These will come in flavors that your pet will accept (fish and poultry). If your dog becomes restless while brushing the side “cheek” teeth and it appears to be painful, please have this checked out as soon as possible.
- Your vet may recommend dog dental-specific treats, water additives, or other products to reduce plaque and calculus.
- Have your vet check your dog’s teeth and gums at each visit.
While these are all great pet dental health tips, the bottom line is that dental health is an essential aspect of your pet’s overall well-being. Have some more specific questions? Speak with your veterinarian and ask their advice on your specific pet and plan an appropriate dental care routine–not just during National Pet Dental Health Month, but for many years to come!
Need a great vet? We have many! Visit us at AZPetVet.com to find the location nearest you.
[Disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.