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 adult dogs and cats. Oral care is largely an afterthought for many pet owners, and it, therefore, goes untreated. However, neglecting your pet’s teeth can be harmful, resulting in major problems and even potential damage to their organs.
To help you keep your beloved furry friend as healthy as possible, this list dives into some signs your pet needs dental care and where you can turn to for help.
Signs of Poor Pet Oral Health
Although it’s typical for a veterinarian to inspect a pet’s mouth during a routine checkup appointment, several signs 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
● Apparent lack of appetite
● Bleeding or swelling in or around the mouth
● Wincing or showing pain when the areas of the mouth are touched
● Odd eating behavior, such as excessive drooling, only eating from one side of the mouth or regularly dropping food out of the mouth
Common Oral Health Issues for Dogs
Many dogs love to chew on a toy or any treat you give them, and while some of this can help prevent specific dental problems, this could also lead to issues.
For dogs, the main concerns are periodontal disease, also called gum disease, and tooth fractures. It’s essential to look out for signs of injury, trauma, and wear and treat because some dogs are rough on their teeth.
Common Oral Health Issues for Cats
While both dogs and cats need dental checkups, they are two unique species with different health concerns.
Cats also deal with gum disease concerns regularly, but they are also prone to a unique condition known as tooth resorption. This condition causes the inside structure of the tooth, known as dentin, to break down. Eventually, it spreads to the outer tooth and leads to tooth loss. It’s prevalent amongst all cats.
Treatment & Prevention of Common Pet Oral Care Issues
When it comes to your pet’s oral care, the good news is that periodontal disease is largely preventable. What’s more, 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 can effectively remove plaque and tartar buildup and perform any other necessary work while your furry friend is at ease.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Pet’s Dental Care at Home
Regular visits to the vet are vital for keeping your dog, cat, or small pet healthy. The team at Normandale Vet Hospital is happy to see your pet anytime you have a concern about their dental health. We also recommend taking them in for regular vet appointments.
Along with seeing one of our vets, you can also follow these suggestions at home!
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. 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!
Give Appropriate Treats
Many treats out there aren’t great for your pet, so if you have questions, please reach out for suggestions.
For dogs, many hard treats like real bones can actually wear down their teeth. On the other hand, some small pets, like guinea pigs, need certain toys to grind down their teeth. So selecting the right treats for your pet’s oral health will depend on their species and age.
Feed a Balanced Diet
If your cat, dog, or any other pet isn’t getting the proper nutrients, this can impact many parts of their body, including their mouth. Unfortunately, not all brands are balanced or healthy for your best pal. We are also happy to offer suggestions to ensure your pet gets the food they need.
Just like with treats, the right diet will depend on factors like species, age, breed, and activity level. For example, cats are obligate carnivores, so they need high protein in their diet, along with other vital nutrients.
Schedule a Dental Checkup for Your Pet in Edina, MN
Don’t ignore your cat or dog’s oral health and the symptoms that could be signs of periodontal disease. We want your pet to thrive and you to have peace of mind, so we offer various dental health services.
For more information on the importance of your pet’s oral care or to schedule an appointment in Edina, contact Normandale Vet Hospital today at 952-831-8272.