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How Do I Know My Pet Needs Dental Care?

Your pet’s dental health is just as important to their overall health as your dental health is to your general health.

Halitosis–bad breath– is not normal in your dog or cat. Bad breath is a sure sign that your pet has either well-established gingivitis, or deeper periodontal disease. The most overlooked chronic infection in our pets is dental disease. This brewing infection is not only capable of causing both acute and chronic pain but has far reaching effects on your pet’s major organ function and longevity.

Flip a Lip, Take a Look

If you see redness of the gums, tartar on the teeth and smell a foul odor, your pet needs our help. Please schedule a dental exam with one of our veterinarians so we can perform an evaluation of your pet’s oral cavity.

The safest and most effective dental procedure will include a pre-dental exam with appropriate blood tests, IV fluid therapy and body warming support, vital signs monitored, dental X-rays, and complete cleaning and polishing of your pet’s teeth. The risks of anesthesia are greatly reduced with proper care and the benefits far outweigh the risks for most of our pets. As veterinarians, our goal is to work with you to provide the most comfortable and longest life possible for your pet.

Why Dental Care?

Dental care for dogs and cats is one of the most overlooked areas of pet health care. In fact, a recent AAHA study showed that:

  • Approximately two-thirds of pet owners do not provide the dental care that is recommended as essential by veterinarians.
  • That 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three years. Dental disease does not just affect the mouth. It can lead to more serious health problems including heart, lung and kidney disease, which makes it even more important that you provide your pet’s with proper dental care right from the start.
  • Dental disease is the most common disease of all dogs and cats.

Periodontal Disease

  • Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth that takes hold in progressive stages. It starts out as a bacterial film called plaque. The bacteria then attach to the teeth. When the bacteria die, they can be calcified by the calcium in saliva.
  • This forms a hard, rough substance called tartar, or calculus, which allows more plaque to accumulate. Initially, plaque is soft and brushing or chewing hard food and toys can dislodge it.
  • If left to spread, plaque can lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, causing them to become red and swollen and to bleed easily. As plaque and calculus develop below the gum line, professional cleaning will be needed to help manage it.
  • If the plaque and tartar buildup continues unchecked, infection can form around the root of the tooth. In the final stages of periodontal disease, the tissues surrounding the tooth are destroyed, the bone and tissue supporting the tooth erodes and the tooth becomes loose.

This is a very painful process for your four-legged friend, but these problems can be averted before they even start.

Bad breath in your pet usually indicates an oral problem. The sooner you have it treated by us, the sooner you and your pet can smile proudly.