Dental disease is the most common clinical condition we see in dogs and cats even though it is completely preventable. So don’t turn your nose up if Fido or Fluffy’s breath is bad! That odour might signify a serious health risk, with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but its internal organs as well.
By the tender age of three, more than 80 per cent of dogs and cats show signs of gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease leads to tooth decay and tooth loss. Other problems, such as a chipped or fractured tooth, can cause infection, which may necessitate extracting the tooth. Worse still, untreated problems can have a domino effect on overall health, leading to heart, lung, and kidney disease.
While it may not be a priority for many owners, dental care is serious business for your dog or cat, especially since they so often use their mouths to interact with the world.
Fortunately, dental care is one area where pet owners can have a significant positive impact without too much effort. To tell the truth, it’s a lot like taking care of your own teeth: simple steps taken now can prevent many problems–and expenses–down the road.
Dental disease in pets is known as Periodontal Disease. The first stage of periodontal disease is generally plaque or a bacterial film on the surface of the teeth. In the early stages, plaque can be easily dislodged if you brush your dog’s teeth or when he chews on hard toys and food. If the plaque is not removed at this stage, the bacteria will attach to the teeth and become calcified through the calcium in your dog’s saliva. This hard surface becomes tartar, and more plaque will accumulate on top of it leading to gingivitis, which is recognized by red, swollen and inflamed gums that bleed easily.
Treatments for your pet’s dental problems will vary, depending on the source of the trouble. Solutions range from simple brushing at home to get rid of bad breath to medication or surgery for more serious problems.
Our vets and nurses can advise what treatment is required and what you can do to help prevent gum disease. We can provide you with instructions for brushing your pet’s teeth at home, water additives, an appropriate diet that promotes good oral health, and signs of gum disease to be on the lookout for. Keeping up with your pet’s dental health has lasting positive effects and can add years to their life!