February is National Pet Dental Health Month
Pets need to take care of their smile, just like humans! To celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month, we are sharing some tips on how you can take care of your pet’s teeth and gums. Dental health can be directly correlated to serious health conditions, like diabetes and heart problems, so make sure you are keeping an eye on your pet’s smile. Keep reading to learn more about how you can help care for their teeth and gums, and how to spot a possible oral health concern. Our Chandler vet can educate you on proper pet dental care that you can easily do at home!
Common Oral Health Issues in Cats
Cats typically start developing serious oral health problems around age three. This is because an accumulation of plaque and tartar will cause your cat to start showing signs of periodontal disease and dental decay. This could be painful for your cat and may even lead them to require teeth to be removed if it is allowed to continue to progress. Oral health problems like gum disease and dental decay can be connected to feline diabetes and heart conditions, so it is important that you do your best to protect their teeth and gums.
How to Care for Your Cat’s Smile
While it may seem difficult, it is so important that you try to brush your cat’s teeth as often as possible. Daily is ideal, but just try to brush them whenever you can. Healthy teeth should be white with no signs of chipping, and their gums should be healthy, not tender or inflamed. Persistent foul odor is a sign your cat may have an underlying oral health problem. Try to brush their teeth with cat-specific toothpaste whenever possible, and just rub the toothpaste on with a gloved finger or gauze. If you are unable to clean your cat’s teeth, talk to our Chandler vet about cat dental cleanings. We can put your cat under sedation and clean their teeth to help protect them from the harmful effects of plaque and tartar.
Besides foul breath, there are a number of other signs that your pet may be experiencing a dental health issue. Lack of appetite, failure to drink water, elusive behavior, weight loss, and pawing at the face can all be signs of tooth pain. Dental health issues can make your pet very uncomfortable, but it may be difficult to pick up signs that there is a problem. Make sure you are bringing your cat in for regular wellness visits at least once per year just so our Chandler vet can give their teeth and gums a check-up. Our team will monitor any signs of dental disease or decay and check for abnormalities in the head, neck, and throat. Prevention is always the best medicine, so make sure you are bringing your cat in as often as they need. Our Chandler vet recommends one visit per year for cats, but some cats with certain health conditions may be recommended to have more frequent visits.
Caring for Your Dog’s Teeth & Gums
Dogs can also experience dental health problems such as gum disease, dental decay, and even broken teeth. By cleaning your dog’s smile with dog-specific toothpaste as often as possible, you can greatly reduce their risk for developing an oral health issue. Daily brushing is recommended, but just try to do it as often as possible to help keep their smile clean. Give your dog plenty of chew toys and dental treats, which help to clean their teeth and maintain healthy gums. Some dogs may require professional dog dental cleanings under anesthesia. Ask our Chandler vet if your dog would benefit from sedated dental cleanings. This can be done on a need basis depending on your dog’s specific dental health issues and health history. Sedation dentistry is safe for dogs and can help keep them protected against preventable health issues.
Signs of Oral Health Issues in Dogs
Lucky for us, dogs love to communicate. It will typically be easier to identify oral health issues in dogs than in cats because dogs love to communicate with their favorite people. Some clear indications that your dog is experiencing an oral health issue include:
- excessive drooling
- reluctance to eat or drink
- weight loss
- pawing at the face or neck area
While these signs don’t guarantee that your dog is experiencing an oral health issue, they can be clues to help us figure out what might be bothering them. The best way to protect your dog from oral health issues is to bring them in for regular wellness exams. When your dog comes in for a check-up, our Chandler vet looks at their teeth, gums, throat, and neck to check for any signs of an oral health problem. Some dogs may be more prone to oral health issues and could require additional dental treatments or daily brushing to help keep their smile healthy. Certain breeds can be at a higher risk for oral health issues. For example, dachshunds are at a higher risk for dental disease because their facial structure is so long, food can easily get trapped at the back of their mouth. This creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, leaving their oral health at risk. Make sure you talk to our team about your pet’s unique breed and age health requirements. Our Chandler vet can help you understand what types of health conditions you should look out for so that you can keep your pet healthy and protected from preventable health problems.
Sedation Dentistry for Pets
Anesthesia is used to put your pet to sleep before getting a pet dental cleaning. This is necessary because animals do not understand that dental cleanings are beneficial for them, and they cannot sit still for treatment. Some tools used to clean their teeth are sharp and loud, and animals could easily become frightened and potentially hurt themselves or our staff. Sedation dentistry will always have a level of risk, but it is safe for cats and dogs and it is routinely used for medical and dental treatments. If you have questions about sedation, talk to our Chandler vet.
To learn more about how you can care for your pet’s smile this National Pet Dental Health Month, call our office to schedule a check-up! We can check out your pet’s dental health and provide you with some tips to help care for their teeth and gums at home. Call Pet Doctor X at (480) 681-6866 or fill out a contact form directly on our site. We look forward to helping your pet have a healthy and beautiful smile, so call our Chandler vet today!