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  • Writer's pictureThe Vet Experts

Keeping Your Pet's Teeth Clean is Vital to Their Overall Health & Wellness

It just so happens that February is Pet Dental Month! Be sure to schedule your furry loved-one's dental appointment today!

​Here's why you should. Envision how your teeth would look and feel if you didn't brush them for years - or even for just for a couple of weeks. Your pet's teeth are no different. If you aren't supplying your pet with some sort of regular dental hygiene routine, you're ignoring a significant part your pet's health and wellness.

Ever since cats and dogs became domesticated, their natural source of "dental floss" and teeth cleaning, which was their prey, was largely eliminated from their diet. The store bought foods that have replaced for your pet's traditional diet simply can not provide the same amount of dental hygiene and the consequences are suffered by most pets.

Oral disease can bring on an infection of the gums, teeth, and surrounding structures, and is undoubtedly one of the most common significant health problem of dogs and cats. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, over 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease at one point or another.

What should you be looking for, and how does it start? Well, it starts with a build-up of plaque. Plaque quickly forms little pockets on the animal's teeth and eventually turns into tarter. The tooth can become separated from the gums, which allows food and bacteria to collect in those areas. This build-up is the biggest contributor of periodontal disease, which can enable bacteria to enter into the bloodstream, leading to even more serious health conditions including lung, heart, and kidney disease when left untreated.

Symptoms of oral dental disease may include:

  • Bad breath

  • Lethargy, inactivity, or melancholy

  • Poor self-grooming

  • Salivating

  • Gums that are red, swollen, and even bleeding

  • Reduced or loss of appetite and weight loss

  • Dropping food from mouth while eating

  • Facial swelling

  • Discharge from the nose or eyes

  • Pawing at the face

  • Teeth becoming loose or falling out

The best way to avoid dental disease in your pets is through prevention. Companion Veterinary & Urgent Care Center advocates for regular oral examinations and cleanings, for all adult cats and dogs, under general anesthesia. We highly recommend that these procedures happen annually at two years of age for dogs, and beginning at one year of age for cats.

Daily tooth brushing is the best way to slow (and potentially prevent) the recurrence of dental problems. Dental chews or feeding your pet a dental diet can help, but not stop, the growth of recurrent disease. We're here to answer any questions you might have and are taking appointments now for the month of February during our monthly dental special!

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