When was the last time you checked your pet's teeth and mouth? Have they ever been brushed or cleaned professionally? 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, Seneca Animal Hospital recommends that all pets have a yearly oral examination to determine if a dental cleaning is warranted.
Gum Disease in Dogs and Cats
Dogs and cats are prone to developing the same types of dental diseases and problems as humans. This includes 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 rest 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 plaque is left on the 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, tooth root loss, 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 their pet's 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 your pet for an oral exam.
- Broken or Loose Teeth
- Tooth Root Exposure
- Discomfort While Eating
- Extremely Bad Breath
- Pus in the Mouth
- Excessive Drooling
- 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 serious health concerns, such as abscesses, blood infections, and the loss of teeth. 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.
Pet Dental Cleanings
Seneca Animal Hospital recommends that all dogs and cats receive their first dental checkup shortly after they are weaned, and at least once a year for the rest 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. Once the examination is complete, if problems are detected, our staff will schedule a day for your pet to have a dental cleaning and polishing. They will clean all the plaque and tartar from your pet’s teeth, and from below the gum line. Full mouth x-rays are also recommended to fully evaluate the health of the teeth. Once your pet’s dentistry is complete, we can give you tips and recommendations on how to help keep your pet's teeth clean and healthy, at home. We also recommend specific toothpastes, dental rinses and chews , plus dental diets that will help continue to keep your pet's mouth clean and healthy.
To learn more about our veterinary dental services, and how they can protect the health of your pet, call us at (716) 652-6120 today.