February is officially Pet Dental Health Month! Of course, your pet’s oral health is important all year long. Dental problems are very painful for pets, and can severely impact their quality of life. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet discusses caring for your pet’s teeth.
Some of the statistics about pet dental issues are quite staggering. For example, as many as 80 percent of adult dogs have periodontal disease. Kitties aren’t far behind: roughly 70 percent of cats aged three or over are afflicted. Periodontal disease—or gum disease, as it is also called, is very dangerous, as the bacteria and plaque can travel through Fido’s bloodstream, contributing to some very dangerous health issues. Cats are also susceptible to tooth resorption and feline stomatitis, which are both very painful conditions. Dogs, on the other hand, sometimes crack or break their teeth on hard objects. Some pooches—especially smaller breeds—are also prone to overcrowding. Abscesses and misalignments are also not uncommon.
The best thing you can do at home is brush your pet’s teeth. Be sure to only use products made for pets. Human toothbrushes and toothpastes are neither safe nor suitable for our furry companions. If your pet won’t tolerate having their choppers brushed, look into other options. Dental flakes, dental-formula treats and chews, and oral rinses can all help keep your pet’s teeth healthy. You’ll also want to make sure that your pet always has fresh water. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Keep a close eye out for signs of dental troubles. Bad breath is a very common one. You may also notice visible swelling and/or tartar buildup, or see bloody smears on your furry pal’s toys or dishes. Dental issues can also cause your pet to change their eating habits. They may dribble food, chew on one side of their mouth, or start preferring softer foods. Other warning signs include crankiness, withdrawal, and a reduced interest in play.
We recommend having your pet’s teeth checked at least once a year. This should start around age one. In between visits, keep an eye out for the symptoms we’ve listed above. If you notice any of those red flags, contact your vet right away.
Do you know or suspect that your pet has dental issues? Contact us, your local Roanoke, VA vet clinic, today!