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Posted on 09-24-2016

Pet dental care is vital for his or her overall health. Bad breath and yellow teeth can be symptoms of serious disease in your pet, which may affect their heart, stomach, liver and kidney.

According to the American veterinarian dental society, oral disease is the most commonly diagnosed health problems in pets. By age three about 70% of cats and 80% of dogs suffer from some form of oral disease like plaque, gingivitis, which can result in the development of periodontal disease.

The effects of the periodontal disease are not limited to your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found linked with periodontal disease includes kidney failure, liver damage, and heart muscle change. 

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PET DENTAL TIP: Do you know…

Regular brushing is the best way to prevent tartar buildup and dental plaque. Feeding your pet with the right diet can help promote good oral hygiene.

Some Mouth Disorders in Pets

Understanding the possible mouth problems your pet may encounter is important. It helps you determine when it is time to consult a veterinarian:

  • Periodontitis (the Periodontal disease) - This disease is an agonizing infection between the gum and the tooth, which can cause tooth loss. If it is not treated timely the infection spreads to the rest of the body parts.

 Signs of this disease are tooth pain, bad breath, excessive sneezing, loose teeth and nasal discharge.

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  • Stomatitis - This disease results in swelling of pet's oral mucous membrane. It affects wide portions of the pet’s mouth and can be quite painful. The soft tissues in the pet's mouth become irritated and inflamed. This disease is more common in cats than dogs.

Signs of this disease are Pain, Ulcerated tissues, Bad Breath, Excessive drooling or saliva, Extensive teeth plaque, and Fluid buildup in the gums.

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  • Gingivitis- This disease results in swelling of the gums. Its main cause is the accumulation of tartar, plaque, and disease producing bacteria near the gum line.

Signs of this disease are red gums, bleeding, bad breath and swollen gums. 

  • Halitosis (bad breath) - This is triggered by bacteria growing on the food particles stuck between the teeth or through gum infection. It can be the first sign of a mouth problem. Regular brushing is the best solution.

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  • Plaque and Tartar- Tartar builds up and food stuck between the teeth causes swollen gums and can trigger the oral disease. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth and annual teeth checkup at the vet can prevent plaque and tartar.

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What are causes of dental problems in pets?

Though cavities are more common in humans than pets, still pets can have most of the dental problems that human can develop:

  • Broken teeth and roots
  • Abscesses
  • Broken jaw
  • Periodontal disease
  • Malocclusion
  • Cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • Palate defects 

Common Signs of dental disease in your pet

Be watchful of the following signs:

  • Bad Breath
  • A change in chewing or eating habits (eats more slowly, messier, doesn’t enjoy chewing on chew sticks/toys anymore)
  • Yellow/brown crust on the teeth
  • Inflamed/bleeding gums
  • Loose or missing teeth

How to take care of your pet oral health at home

One can maintain Pet oral health in following ways:

1. The Breath Test: We understand checking your pet’s breath every day is not easy, as normal pet breath is not particularly fresh smelling. You check it once or twice a month. If the pet breath is offensive and accompanied by a loss of appetite or excessive drinking or vomiting or urinating, it is a best to take your pet to a pet clinic or an animal hospital.

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2. Lip Service: Twice a month while brushing your pet’s teeth lift its lips and inspect its teeth and gums. The teeth must be clean and there should be no brownish tartar. The color of pet’s gums should be pink and not white or red and there are no signs of swelling in the gums.

Note: Be careful while assessing your pet’s mouth, because a pet in pain can bite.

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3. Brushing: Most common oral disease in pets can be prevented by regularly brushing your pet’s teeth. It prevents dental plaque and tartar that forms on teeth.

Daily brushing your pet’s teeth is best, but if not possible, then brushing several times a week can be effective.

Pets, especially cats, are not used to the idea of having teeth brushed and might resist it. The following steps will help you in making your pet used to the concept of brushing:

  • To start with, massage your pet’s lips with your finger in a circular motion for 30-60 seconds once or twice a day for a few weeks. Then move on to the pet’s teeth and gums.
  • After your pet is comfortable, being touched this way, apply a little bit of pet recommended toothpaste and water on your pet's lips so that it gets used to the taste.
  • After this, introduce a pet recommended toothbrush. It should be smaller than a human toothbrush and must have softer bristles. Prefer toothbrushes, which you can wear on your finger (or a clean piece of gauze) as it allows you to give a pleasant massage to your pet’s gums.
  • Finally, apply the pet recommended toothpaste on pet’s teeth. For a gentle brushing, place your gauze-wrapped finger or the brush at an angle of 45-degree to the pet’s teeth and clean them with small circular motions. Work on one area of your pet’s mouth at a time, lifting its lip as necessary.

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Note: Brushing too hard can hurt your pet's gums. Please do consult a veterinarian to learn brushing techniques as per the pet you own.

4. Give Bones to Chew On or Chew toys: Chew toys and Bones satisfy your pet's natural craving to gnaw, along with making their teeth strong. Chew toys and Bones not only knock off the tartar from their teeth but also massage their gums.

Ask your veterinarian to suggest you a toxin-free rawhide, rubber or nylon chew toys for your pet. Prefer using raw bones instead of cooked ones, since they are less likely to splinter.

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5. Best Diet for Healthy Teeth

What kind of diet you serve your pet plays an important factor in maintaining good health of your pet’s teeth. Consult your veterinarian about specially formulated dry food that can slow down plaque and tartar buildup. Avoid feeding your pet from table scraps instead, prefer giving your pet treats that meant to keep their teeth healthy.

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Don't Wait Until It's Too Late

Tooth decay, Bad breath, and gum diseases have been linked to heart, kidney, and other serious chronic illnesses. Try getting your pet’s teeth checked at least once a year by your pet dentist or veterinarian langley for the early signs dental problem.  Most importantly, ensure you brush your pet's teeth regularly to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

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Walnut Grove animal hospital Langley

101A 20995 88 Ave, Langley, BC V1M 2C9 Canada.

+1 604-888-2628

http://walnutgroveanimalclinic.com/

Reference links:

https://www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/February-is-National-Pet-Dental-Health-Month.aspx

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/ten-steps-your-dogs-dental-health

http://www.petmd.com/dog/grooming/evr_dg_oral_hygiene_and_your_dogs_health

Veterinary Topics