Veterinarians are always talking about the importance of dental care for your pets, but why? It’s estimated that more than 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop tooth and gum disease by the age of three. Much of this damage could be prevented through routine dental care. Because pets are not known to sit still and open wide, annual cleanings done under anesthesia give the DVM an opportunity to thoroughly look in your pet’s mouth to check for cracked or loose teeth, gum pockets, or improper tooth alignment. We can also do dental xrays to check under the gum line and ensure there is no damage to roots.
There are also additonal health issues that can arise from bad teeth. Periodontal disease is a painful infection between the tooth and the gum that can result in tooth loss and spread infection to the rest of the body. Signs are loose teeth, bad breath, tooth pain, sneezing and nasal discharge. Bacteria from periodontal disease affects the entire body, leading to kidney and heart disease and eventually organ failure.
Signs of dental issues can include:
Bad breath (halitosis)
Reluctance to eat, especially dry food, or to play with chew toys
Chewing with or favoring one side of the mouth
Pawing at or rubbing the muzzle/mouth
A mass/growth in the mouth
Bleeding from the mouth
Loss of symmetry of the muzzle and/or lower jaw
Swollen/draining tracts under (or in front of) the eye
Sudden change in behavior (aggressive or withdrawn)
Chronic eye infections or drainage with no exact cause or cure
Inability to open or close the mouth
Abnormal discharge from nose
To learn more about routine dental cleanings, watch this fun video created by our friends at VMG. Then talk to your vet about your pet’s oral health.