February is Pet Dental Health Month! Good oral health is just as important for pets as it is for people. The numbers on pet dental health are quite sobering. Over 70 percent of all pets and 80 percent of dogs over the age of three have periodontal disease! Of course, your furry friend can’t take care of their own choppers, so it’s up to you. A Brampton, ON vet offers some tips on pet dental health care below.
Our furry companions can develop a variety of dental issues. One of the most concerning is periodontal disease. This essentially works the same way with dogs and cats as it does for us: it begins with bacteria in your pet’s mouth forming plaque, which then hardens into tartar. This then leads to gum irritation, and eventually causes the gums to loosen and pull away from the teeth. This creates more pockets for more bacteria. A downward spiral ensues, often resulting in tooth shifting or loss. The bacteria can travel to your pet’s vital organs via their bloodstream, and has been linked to heart disease and other serious issues. Other common issues include overcrowding, misalignments, and cracked or broken teeth.
The best thing you can do to care for your four-legged pal’s teeth is to brush them regularly. This will of course take some training. If Fido or Fluffy won’t let you clean their teeth, then you can look into other options, such as dental formula treats and chews. It’s also important to have your pet’s teeth checked regularly.
Keep an eye out for signs of trouble. These include bad breath, visible tartar, bleeding gums, swelling, extra teeth, crowding, and excessive drool. Your pet may take longer eating, or they may start chewing on one side of the mouth. Dribbling is another red flag. In some cases, pets may start preferring softer food. They may also become less playful.
Most of our canine pals have 42 teeth, while our feline ones usually have 30. Usually puppies and kittens get their first set of teeth—called deciduous teeth or milk teeth—by the time they are about 8 weeks old. Your pet’s adult teeth will start coming in when they are around three to six months old.
Do you have questions about your pup’s health or care? Contact us, your Brampton, ON animal clinic, today!