Most pet owners understand, and are happy to provide, the basic principles of pet wellness: proper nutrition, shelter from the elements, exercise, and lots of love. Although we strive to take good care of our pets, one facet of pet health is often overlooked: dental care.
You wouldn’t go days, weeks, or years without brushing your teeth or visiting the dentist (hopefully), yet most of us don’t give much thought to our pet’s teeth and the care they need. Unfortunately, this common oversight can have significant impacts on our pets’ overall health and wellness.
Oral Health And Longevity: The Powerful Link
Why the recent push toward oral hygiene for pets? While the pets of yesteryear did indeed survive without dental care, we now know that treating and preventing dental disease in pets can improve their quality of life and even promote longevity.
Dental disease, also known as periodontal or gum disease, is an infection of the soft tissue and supporting structures of the teeth caused by a buildup of bacteria along the gum line. If left untreated, this bacteria can make it’s way into your pet’s bloodstream, potentially causing a host of systemic problems ranging from diseases of the major organs, to diabetes and even cancer.
Does My Pet Have Dental Disease?
That less-than-pleasant doggy or kitty breath you’ve come to see as normal is only one of the many indicators of pet dental disease. The following symptoms are an indication that your pet’s dental disease may have progressed into other health issues:
- Foul breath
- Broken, loose, or discolored teeth
- Excessive drooling
- Swollen or inflamed gums
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty eating, chewing only on one side of the mouth
- Pawing at the mouth or other signs of pain
You Can Make A Difference!
As with most areas of health and wellness, the effort you put in can make a significant impact in your pet’s oral health. By investing time and energy into keeping your pet’s pearly whites clean today, you are paving the way for a clean bill of health for your pet tomorrow.
Professional Dental Care – During every wellness exam, your pet’s mouth, teeth, and gums are inspected and recommendations are made for follow up care. Many pets benefit from a once or twice yearly professional dental cleaning and examination, which includes dental scaling and radiography under safe sedation.
Home Care – Brushing your pet’s teeth on a regular basis is the number one way you can keep his or her teeth healthy in between professional cleanings. Tooth brushing can be done using a pet toothbrush, a finger brush, or a piece of gauze. Always use pet-specific toothpaste, as human toothpaste may contain ingredients that are toxic to pets. We are happy to go over the details of tooth brushing and other components of home care with you at any time.
Your friends at Long Animal Hospital are committed to the health and happiness of your pet. If you have any questions regarding your pet’s dental care, or need to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to give us a call!