Some pet owners believe veterinary oral hygiene is for the purpose of helping your pet avoid having bad breath. Little do they realize that proper veterinary oral hygiene is vital to your pet’s overall health. Pet dental problems can be the cause of many serious health conditions. Did you know that the bacteria found in pet tooth decay can actually damage his or her heart?
Yes, your pet’s dental hygiene can impact your pet’s overall health, which is why your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked, at least, once a year by a veterinarian to keep your pet healthy.
A proper dental exam includes:
- examination of his or her mouth
- x-rays, if needed
- a cleaning that includes scaling (to remove plaque and tartar)
- any other type of repairs that might be needed
Signs that your pet’s mouth might need oral attention include:
- bad breath
- broken or loose teeth
- discolored teeth
- abnormal chewing, drooling or dropping food while eating
- less food intake
- irritability or changes in behavior
Periodontal disease is the most common dental issue in cats and dogs and usually surfaces when your pet is around three-years-old. This disease begins with plaque that turns into tartar. Some tartar can be seen, and easily removed. However, tartar that is hidden below the gumline can cause damage and generate infection.
Other dental issues pets can develop are:
- broken teeth
- cysts or tumors
- broken jaw
Pets are no different from humans when it comes to, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” To avoid gum disease and tooth decay, the following prove most helpful:
- make sure your pet receives a dental exam regularly
- brush your pet’s teeth, ideally every single day
- encourage raw bones – this great alternative to your dog’s daily hygiene program can keep your dog busy while his or her teeth are being cleaned. Raw bones also massage your pet’s gums. Soft meat, like lamb or veal, is best and, remember to always give your pet a bone bigger than his or her head. And never give your pet a cooked bone as this can fracture and cause great damage
- pet treats – pet treats are a wonderful way to strengthen and clean your pet’s teeth, as well as help with his or her bad breath. Treats help with chewing that creates the saliva necessary to help eliminate bacteria and clean the teeth. Treats also exercise the jaw bone
For more information or to set up an effective veterinary oral hygiene program for your pet, contact Nor Cal Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital at (415) 413-7363.