As humans, going to the dentist is built into our normal health and wellness routine. We regularly go once a year, if not every six months, to visit the dentist and make sure our teeth and gums are healthy. For your pet though, trips to the dentist are not as frequent, if at all. Your pet’s teeth are of the utmost importance to your pet and maintaining healthy teeth is necessary for an overall clean bill of health. Below, let’s take a closer look at pet dental health and how you can help your pet.
WHY IS PET DENTAL HEALTH IMPORTANT?
Your pet relies on his or her teeth to not only eat, meow or bark, and chew but also to function as hands. Pets will carry items, investigate new objects, and defend themselves with their teeth. This is all the more reason to make sure your pet’s teeth are in tip-top shape. While there are some dental diseases that are immediately present at the surface, such as abscesses, lacerations, or broken teeth, there are many underlying diseases that are caused by poor dental health. A disease that starts in the teeth and gums can eventually lead to kidney and heart disease or problems with the intestinal tract or joints. Further, tiny bacteria can become rooted within your pet’s gums and quickly spread throughout the rest of the body.
POSSIBLE SIGNS OF PET DENTAL DISEASE?
Different animals will exhibit different signs of possible dental disease. Some pets will refrain from eating or chewing if it is causing pain. Other pets will visibly paw at their mouth. In cats, a fairly common sign of the dental disease is increased drooling. One sure sign of the possible dental disease is bad breath. At home, you can also regularly do a visual inspection of your animal’s mouth. Gently lift your pet’s mouth and inspect around each tooth and above the gums. Note any discoloration or swollen areas in the mouth. Any broken teeth or open wounds should be addressed immediately with a veterinarian.
HOW CAN OUR VETERINARIANS HELP WITH PET DENTAL HEALTH?
As part of your regular health and wellness visit, Dr. Keyes will inspect your pet’s teeth. Any tartar or plaque buildup will be noted with a suitable course of action. Many veterinarians will suggest a yearly cleaning for your pet. Usually, during the cleaning, your pet will be put under anesthesia. With your pet asleep through the procedure your veterinarians will be able to clean in and around all of your pet’s teeth to give a proper cleaning.
WHAT ARE AT HOME OPTIONS FOR IMPROVING PET DENTAL HEALTH?
There are many at home options to keep your pet’s teeth clean between veterinary appointments. There are several chewable toys for cats to use that are designed to help clean in and around teeth. Hard plastic chews are a great way to keep your cat’s teeth clean while having fun too. There are several water additives that can be added daily to your pet’s water bowl that will help to break down plaque and tartar. Home teeth cleaning kits are also readily available that will allow you to brush your pet’s teeth at home between visits.
When looking for a Tuscon animal doctor, residents regularly choose us. At Cat Hospital of Tucson we believe that keeping your pet’s teeth clean is a key part of ensuring overall health. If you would like to learn more about how you can improve your pet’s dental health care, check out our services and schedule an appointment today.