Dental awareness for pets is very important. There are many health benefits to taking proper care of your pet's teeth. Doing so can increase your pet's longevity and quality of life. It can help prevent heart and kidney disease caused by bacteria traveling from the mouth into the bloodstream. Although dental disease is more common in older cats and dogs, younger animals can suffer as well.
Signs of dental disease may include chewing on one side of the mouth, drooling, or slowing down when eating. Because pain conveys weakness, many animals may try to hide their suffering. Halitosis, or bad breath, can be another sign of dental disease. Doggy breath doesn't have to be a way of life. It can be eliminated through regular dental cleanings and at-home care.
It is vital to remember that dental disease is always progressive! This means that it always gets worse, never better. Your veterinarian will be able to tell if Fido or Whiskers needs a dental cleaning. Usually this consists of your pet being put under carefully monitored anesthesia. Then, a technician uses an ultrasonic scaler to remove the calculus from the surface of the teeth and under the gum line. A good polishing follows to smooth the teeth to retard the attachment of plaque and calculus.
Often, other issues become apparent during the thorough probing of your pet's mouth. Dental radiographs may be required, as 60% of dental pathology is found under the gums. If the veterinarian finds fractured teeth or other problems, extractions may be required. Even if this is the case, there is no need to worry. Your cat or dog wasn't using those teeth to effectively chew in the first place.
Dental health doesn't end after the cleaning! At-home care is vital for the continued well-being of your pet. This may include brushing Fido's teeth, feeding a specially formulated dental diet, or offering a certain kind of rawhide chew. Your veterinarian should discuss with you the best plan for your unique situation.
If you suspect that your pet may suffer from dental disease, or if you are simply unsure, take her to your veterinary clinic. It often only takes a brief glance from a well-trained technician to know if Fido or Whiskers could benefit from a dental cleaning.