How often do you clean your pet’s teeth or take them to a dentist? February is Pet Dental Health Month, a special time to think about your pet's dental needs. That said, pet dental health care should be daily and not just a February thing. Research has shown that good oral health can make your pet live longer.
Statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimate that eight out of 10 dogs and seven out of 10 cats start showing symptoms of dental disease before they turn three years old. As such, this Pet Dental Health Month is here to help you understand why pet dental care is necessary and why you need to provide it for your pet.
A good dental care practice will help keep your animal companion from getting various dental health problems, including:
Dental disease, also called periodontal disease, is a condition that affects your pet's teeth, gums, and tooth roots. The disease starts with an accumulation of food particles and bacteria that form plaque.
Plaque that sits on the teeth for a long time grows into tartar. Tartar has a yellow-brown color, and it stays on the gumline. Additionally, tartar is easily noticeable, making it easy to remove during a dental cleaning by your vet.
The problem comes when tartar grows under the gumline. Tartar growing under the gumline causes swelling that damage teeth roots and cause infection. This stage of dental disease can cause your pet serious dental complications and pain.
Pain or bleeding in the mouth.
Loose or cracked teeth.
A weak grip on food.
Trouble eating or drinking.
This is unlike the usual bad breath pets have. Halitosis is a chronic smelly breath that does not go away with a good brushing or dental chew toy. The smell from halitosis is so strong, usually a sign that something else is going on in your pet’s mouth.
Hence, do not turn your nose away from your pet’s reeking breath. The smell could be pointing to a serious dental health problem.
When your pet's teeth, gums, and tooth roots become infected, the teeth may become loose and start falling out. A good dental health care practice will keep your pet's teeth in place and guarantee a healthy mouth.
Bacteria from dental disease can enter your pet's blood and make their way to the heart, liver, and kidneys. This spread of bacterial plaque can make your pet become very sick and suffer severe organ damage.
Dental disease, particularly when it worsens, can be painful for your pet. Your pet may experience attitude changes and refuse to eat, chew, or drink if doing so causes discomfort. Any oral pain should be checked by your vet right away.
For more on the importance of pet dental care, visit Santa Monica Pet Medical Center at our office in Santa Monica, California. You can also call (310) 393-8218 to book an appointment today.