When was the last time you had your pet’s teeth cleaned? According to the AVMA, pets who have never had a teeth cleaning have signs of dental disease by the time they are three years old. For that reason, Blue Cross Pet Hospital recommends that all dogs and cats receive their first dental checkup shortly after they are weaned and at least once a year for every year of their lives. Pet dental checkups include an examination of your pet’s head, neck, face, ears and mouth in order to check for signs of health problems.
Gum Disease in Dogs and Cats
Dogs and cats are prone to developing the same types of dental diseases and problems as humans, including gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, staining and cavities. The process of dental decay and disease starts every time your pet eats. When your pet eats, food particles get on their teeth and gums. This fuels the bacteria in your pet’s mouth, causing an acid attack on the enamel of their teeth and creating a sticky, clear substance called plaque. If the plaque is left on teeth, it hardens into tartar. When plaque and tartar are left on your pet’s teeth for an extended period of time, it can lead to gingivitis, periodontal disease, cavities and oral infections.
Signs of Dental Disease in Pets
When it comes to detecting potential oral health problems in pets, owners must be vigilant in noticing changes in behavior. This is because pets often do not act like they are in pain until the pain is severe. If you notice any of the signs below, it is important that you contact us to schedule a dental checkup, teeth cleaning and gum disease treatment.
- Broken or Loose Teeth
- Discomfort While Eating
- Extremely bad Breath
- Pussy or Bloody Drool
- Red Gums
- Staining on the Teeth
- Swollen or Inflamed Gums
- Weight Loss or Loss of Appetite
The Hazards of Untreated Periodontal Disease in Pets
Untreated periodontal disease in dogs and cats can lead to dangerous infections, like abscesses and blood infections. Advanced dental disease may also affect your pet’s heart, liver and kidneys. In order to avoid these potentially life-threatening conditions, it is important to keep your pet’s teeth clean with a combination of at-home care and regular veterinary teeth cleanings.