Pet Dental Health is Important
Pet Dental Care
It’s that time of year -and I’m not referring to any special holiday, I’m talking about National Pet Dental Health Month. As pet owners, we have responsibilities we must fulfill to maintain a happy and healthy pet. What some of us may not realize, whether you’re a new pet owner or not, is how vital preventative care is, especially when it comes to Fido’s or Sadie’s ( the new name I’ve given to represent all kitty’s) mouth-this also pertains to ferrets.
Though cats and dogs are less prone to cavities than humans are, there is still a chance of other dental issues, some of which are more serious. According to VetMed, over 80% of cats, and 70% of dogs contract periodontal disease by the age of three. Periodontal disease, to sum it up shortly, is caused when plaque and tartar forms underneath the gum line. Included in this disease is gingivitis and periodontitis. The problem? It affects the immune system of your four-legged friend and can lead to kidney disease, liver disease, and heart disease.
First things are first: You need to gain knowledge of the signs and symptoms of this disease. PetMD supplied me with a great list of indicators to look out for in regards to your dog:
- Problems picking up food
- Bleeding or red gums
- Loose teeth
- Blood in the water bowl or on chew toys
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- “Talking” or making noises when a dog eats or yawns
- Bumps or lumps in the mouth
- Bloody or ropey saliva
- Not wanting the head touched (head shyness)
- Chewing on one side of the mouth
- Sneezing or nasal discharge (advanced gum disease in the upper teeth can destroy the bone between the nasal and oral cavity)
In regards to your cat, Veterinary Oral Health Council provided us with a similar list for cats:
- Bad breath
- Bleeding Gums
- Loss of appetite
- Drop food from mouth while eating
- Teeth may fall out
A good pointer –cats are excellent at hiding pain, so although they may be feeling achy or uneasy, more than likely, you wouldn’t know it unless you’re conscious of these signs.
If you have a ferret, be aware too, as they’re prone to periodontal disease too. PetMD says symptoms include:
- Bad Breath
- Gums may bleed easily
- Fractured teeth
So, what are some preventative measures we can take? As discussed in the Ways to Fight Bad Breath in Dogs and Cats article, most of the measures that need to be taken to prevent dental issues should be done at home:
Brush-they may not like it, but it’s a vital step when it comes to eliminating plague. A tip with this: if you can start them young, start there. It’s easier to get them accustomed to the habit when they’re babies. If not, start them slow, and provide them with a treat afterwards. The reward system will be a definite incentive in this case.
Gum Examination-the ASPCA recommends you check your pet’s gums once a week. Make sure they’re pink-not white, red, or swollen.
Teeth Cleanings-yes, teeth cleaning for pets. They’re imperative to assist with any plaque or tartar. Anesthesia is usually involved, followed by a cleaning with dental scalars, a polishing, a rinse, and then finally a brushing with a finger tooth brush.
As always, when you go to your vet. for your little loved one’s annual checkup, they’ll be able to tell if there are any issues pertaining to the dental problems.
The ASPCA has an insurance program that incorporates preventative care. They’ve reimbursed $200,000 worth of dental cleanings, as well as $196.000 for other dental matters because they know how vital these matters are. You can further look into their insurance plan at ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.
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