Dental care for your pets is vital to their general health care needs—just like for us humans. In fact, periodontal disease is one of the most common health conditions that affect our pets. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates that by the time most pets are just three years old, they’re showing signs of dental disease. It’s about much more than just keeping that breath smelling fresh, too—when periodontal disease progresses, it allows harmful bacteria to spread to your pet’s entire system. The health of your pet’s kidneys, liver, and heart (as well as their overall longevity) can all be negatively affected by periodontal disease!
Signs of dental disease in pets include:
● Persistent bad breath
● Red, swollen gums or bleeding from the mouth
● Reluctance to eat or change in eating habits
● Excessive drooling, chewing oddly, or dropping food
● Facial swelling
● Loose or broken teeth
● Reluctance to play with toys
● Excessive sneezing or nasal discharge
Regular dental exams and cleanings are your pet’s best line of defense against periodontal disease and the harm it can do, but there are some good things you can do at home to promote and protect your pet’s dental health. If you can, brushing your pet’s teeth regularly will help keep them healthy and increase the time between professional dental cleanings. Introduce home brushing slowly, and use a toothpaste and brush designed for pets. For details (including a video about home dental care), check out the AMVA’s pet dental care website.
You can also use water additives, dental treats, and chew toys to help keep your pet’s teeth clean, but make sure they’re appropriate! Too-hard chew toys (like real bones) can cause broken teeth, which is not only painful but can lead to dental disease.
If you have any questions about dental care for your pets or need to schedule a dental exam or procedure, give us a call at (760) 729-3330.