Heartworm disease can have a devastating effect on your pet's health. National Heartworm Awareness Month, observed annually in April, reminds pet owners about the health dangers this preventable d ...View Article
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QUICK TIPS TO KEEP YOUR PET'S TEETH HEALTHY!
Call 285-6270 today to schedule your pets' dental exam.
More than 85% of dogs and cats over 4 years old have some form of periodontal disease, a painful inflammatory condition in which bacteria attack the gums, ligament, and bone tissues that surround and support teeth. Senior dogs, those 7 or more years old, are especially susceptible to periodontal disease.
Even though most of us are highly motivated when it comes to our own family’s teeth, dental care is one of the most neglected pet health needs. Try to imagine how your teeth would look and feel if you didn’t brush them daily or make regular visits to your dentist (YUK!!). The same applies to your pet’s teeth. However, the responsibility falls on us as pet owners, since they aren’t capable of taking care of their own teeth.
The problem begins when plaque and tartar are allowed to build up on your pet’s teeth. The plaque and tartar cause the gums to become tender, red and swollen. The bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the large network of blood vessels located near the gums and teeth. Studies have documented that certain heart, liver, and kidney diseases are associated with these bacteria. Parts of the nervous system may be affected as well. Damage to certain organs can shorten the lives of dogs and cats.
Some signs and symptoms of poor oral health include:
*persistent bad breath
*sensitivity around the mouth
*loss of appetite (simply because it is too painful to eat)
*tartar formation (creamy brown, hard material on the tooth surface)
*loose, broken, or missing teeth
*infected teeth (pus between teeth and gums)
*difficulty eating and chewing food
*bleeding, inflamed, or receding gums
The first step in caring for your pet’s teeth and gums is to schedule a thorough oral examination with your veterinarian. Depending on the condition of the teeth and gums, your pet’s veterinarian may recommend a complete dental cleaning. It is very important for the doctor to perform this comprehensive oral exam before any cleaning to determine whether or not your pet needs to be on antibiotics before the procedure. The antibiotics are used to prevent any further infection that can be caused by the tartar that is removed.
Your pet will be sedated for this cleaning procedure. Their cleaning will be similar to the ones you receive. While under anesthesia, the tartar will be removed from their teeth and then they will be polished with a fluoride paste. In addition, any loose or damaged teeth may be pulled. After their professional cleaning, the next step will be for you to maintain your pet’s oral health at home. We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth regularly, just as you brush your own, to remove plaque. However, you must use a toothpaste specially formulated for pet’s instead of your own. Human toothpaste tends to foam up and can be very unpleasant for your pet. It can also cause stomach upset from swallowing the foam.
This is something that should be started gradually. Your pet needs to get used to something being put in his mouth and the taste of the toothpaste. Start out by getting your pet more familiar with you playing around his mouth and putting your fingers in his mouth. We can give you more tips and ideas on how to introduce this new routine slowly. If your pet absolutely will not allow you to brush his teeth, dental chews and special food are available to help.
Diet can be a major factor in t\he development of plaque and tartar. Dry food, biscuits, and abrasive diets (NO TABLE FOOD) can be helpful in removing plaque above the gum line. Regular visits to your veterinarian are also important. Your veterinarian may be able to detect early signs of periodontal diseases and give you helpful hints on how to care for your pet’s teeth at home. Remember, dental care is as important to your pet’s health as it is to your own. The advantage that we have is that we understand the pain, where it is coming from, and how to get ourselves to a dentist. If our pets have a toothache, they may just stop eating because it is too painful. Therefore, we must do everything we can for our pets to prevent the problems before they start. We owe it to them to provide regular dental care and cleaning since they are unable to do it for themselves. Don’t wait until your pet’s annual exam if you suspect a problem.
We carry a variety of C.E.T. dental products to help keep your pet’s teeth healthy. To learn more about these products, visit the C.E.T. website at www.cetdental.com.
Please call our office at 731-285-6270 with any additional questions or to schedule an appointment.