Pet Dental Care
Good dental care is crucial for your pet!
The most common dental problems dogs and cats experience is buildup from plaque and calculus. If plaque isn't removed it turns into tartar, which builds up below the gums and causes inflammation and tooth loss. The bacteria that cause the inflammation can enter your pet's bloodstream and cause or aggravate lung, kidney, liver and heart problems.
Inspect your pet's teeth regularly so that you can identify issues and have them treated before they become serious problems. Do this by lifting the lips all around the mouth, looking at the front and back teeth for signs of problems. Contact your vet if you notice any of the following:
- Loss of appetite or reluctance to chew
- Foul breath
- Increased drooling
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Tartar / Calculus (yellow or brown hard coating on teeth which results from plaque build-up)
- Broken, missing and/or loose teeth
Follow up your tooth inspections with regular tooth brushing. Your vet can show you the proper techniques. Introduce your dental care routine as soon as you bring your pet home so that he gets used to the feeling of having his mouth handled and his teeth brushed.
Give pets appropriate toys to chew. Dry pet foods and treats are slightly better than canned food at cleaning plaque from the teeth. Some rawhide chews and toys can also help. Do not give your pets real bones to chew without your vet's approval, as they can cause tooth fractures. Dr. Bea does recommend real bones, if they are raw, but with the caution that there is a risk of breaking a tooth. In any case you won't want to give your pets small bones that can splinter readily, such as poultry bones, or bones with sharp edges as the result of a butcher's saw.
Visit your vet every 6-12 months for wellness check-ups and regular tooth cleanings.
Dental care is just as important for your dog and cat as it is for you!