Everyone knows that it’s important to brush your teeth daily. It prevents gum disease, cavities, and bad breath as well as a plethora of other problems. But did you know your pet’s dental health is just as important to their well being as your own? Periodontal or gum disease has become the number one health problem for both dogs and cats. In many cases, the harmful bacteria does not only reek havoc in the mouth, it can travel through the bloodstream and increase risk of kidney, heart and liver disease.
What can you do to protect your loved one from this problem? Prevention, prevention, prevention. There are many signs to look for with your pet in order to be proactive with this disease. Does their breath have a foul smell? Does your pet drop kibble from their mouth as they eat? Do you notice blood on chew toys and bones? Has their face become swollen or painful? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, your pet most likely has some degree of dental disease.
The first step is to get them to your veterinarian so they can assess the severity of your pet’s condition. The solution might be something as simple as scaling and polishing their teeth, similar to our own dentist visits. This removes unsightly plaque and the harmful bacteria underneath. This also provides a “clean slate” in the pet’s mouth since NOTHING - bone or product wise will remove the initial calculus. Your veterinarian can then discuss with you the home care needed to prevent disease in the future. Focusing on prevention of dental disease is the key to your pet’s overall health.