pet dental visit

Aside from the occasional dental chew, most pets don’t get much attention to their dental care. After all, wild animals seem to get on okay without toothbrushing, so why wouldn’t that be true for a companion animal? 

Actually, there is every reason why pet dental care should be on the top of the pet care list. Dental care for pets is paramount to overall health for several reasons, and is key to a pet’s well-being. The team at Parkside Animal Hospital is here to present a solid case for the importance of dental wellness for your four-legged friend.

Dental Care for Pets

Can you imagine going for months, or even years, without having your teeth examined? Or, going without tooth brushing for months? How would that feel? 

Our pets actually succumb to some of the dental problems and diseases that we experience if we neglect oral hygiene. Sadly, so many pets don’t even get the basics of tooth brushing, which is why so many experience periodontal disease at an early age.

Periodontal disease is an infection of the teeth and gums, as well as the surrounding structures of the mouth. It develops when there is an accumulation of plaque, tartar, food, and other debris remaining on the tooth’s enamel and along the gumline. This accumulation breeds bacteria that can turn into systemic infection when left untreated.

Symptoms associated with dental disease include:

  • Halitosis/foul breath
  • Tooth decay/cavities
  • Redness or inflammation of the gums
  • Bleeding of the gumline
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Pawing at mouth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Swelling of jaw or cheek
  • Lesions

Periodontal disease is painful, but there is much more to it than that. Dental disease is directly linked to the development of other diseases. Let’s take a closer look at what these are and wny.

Dental Disease and Its Effects on the Body

When infection is present and progresses over time, this leads to a variety of systemic diseases. Oral cancer is but one problem that is faced by pet’s who have advanced periodontal disease. 

Since serious infections can be carried into the bloodstream and impact other body systems, dental disease has been linked to all of the following:

  • Bone infections
  • Sepsis
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease and valve conditions
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Abscesses of the liver
  • Oral cancer and other cancers 

Because of the severity of certain conditions related to ongoing dental disease, it is imperative to maintain your pet’s good oral health. The way to do this is through prevention.

Preventing Dental Disease

Many problems of the gums, mouth, and teeth are entirely preventable. There are certain steps you can take as a loving pet owner to ensure the best possible health for your pet through dental care.

  1. Keep your pet’s annual wellness checkups where your veterinarian will assess dental health, as well as overall well-being.
  2. Feed your pet a high quality pet food.
  3. Brush your pet’s teeth at least a few times per week (or better yet, daily) using a pet formulated toothpaste and brush (your toothpaste contains pet toxic ingredients).
  4. Inspect your pet’s teeth and gums regularly to look for signs of problems.
  5. Dental chews are recommended compliments to good oral care, but do not replace brushing.

Your veterinarian may recommend professional cleaning, if your pet’s teeth show the signs of plaque and tartar buildup. This is a safe and effective way to keep your pet’s teeth in good health.

For more information on why dental care for pets is essential for longevity and optimal health, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.