Often when people think of caring for their pets, things like vaccines, heartworm medication, grooming, and exercise come to mind. However there is one key aspect of pet health that many pet owners overlook: pet oral care.


In fact, according to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease is the number one clinical condition in both adult dogs and cats. Oral care is largely an afterthought for many pet owners, and is therefore goes untreated. However, the consequences of neglecting your pet’s teeth can be harmful, resulting in major problems and even potential damage to their organs.


Signs of Poor Oral Health

Although it’s typical for a veterinarian to inspect a pet’s mouth during their routine checkup appointment, there are several signs that could indicate poor oral health. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, these include:


●        Foul breath

●        Chipped, broken, or loose teeth

●        Stained or discolored teeth

●        Odd eating behavior, such as excessive drooling, only eating from one side of the mouth or regularly dropping food out of the mouth

●        Apparent lack of appetite

●        Bleeding or swelling in or around the mouth

●        Wincing or showing pain when the areas of the mouth are touched


Treatment and Prevention

When it comes to your pet’s oral care, the good news is that periodontal disease is largely preventable. What’s more is that symptoms are often treatable in the vet’s office.


Some vets may include a dental cleaning as a part of their regular treatment of your pet. A veterinary dentist can clean, adjust, fill, extract or repair an animal’s teeth – much like how a dentist performs oral care on people. In most cases, such procedures will be carried out while your pet is comfortably sedated. This ensures that the veterinary dentist will be able to effectively remove plaque and tartar buildup, and perform any other necessary work, while your furry friend is at ease.


One of the best forms of at home prevention is regular brushing. This helps clear the pet’s mouth of the tartar and plaque buildup that can lead to so many oral health issues, not unlike humans face. While daily brushing is ideal, even just a few times per week can do wonders for your pet’s dental health. It may take some time for your dog or cat to get used to, so introduce this new habit knowing it may require some patience. And if you have a young pet, there’s no better time to start!


Don’t ignore your cat or dog’s oral health and the symptoms that could be signs of periodontal disease. For more information on the importance of your pet’s oral care, or to schedule care in Edina, contact Normandale Vet Hospital today at 952-831-8272.