Is your pet’s breath unpleasant?
Both cats and dogs will normally have some breath odor that you will smell when you are close to your pet. For example, it may smell like the food they have eaten. However, while it will be noticeable it should not be horrible, especially if you are some feet away from your pet. Foul breath in a pet can indicate a more serious issue that should be checked by a vet. The most common cause of bad breath is poor oral health.
Some may think it is silly to brush their dog or cat’s teeth. And even some pet parents do not have their pets get dental checkups or cleaning. In fact, in one survey it was found 57% of dog owners admit their pet has bad breath yet only 6% schedule a cleaning with a vet. Dental problems in pets can become quite painful. Additionally, poor dental health can lead to other medical problems with your pet. Just like us, pets can get periodontal disease. In fact, by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease. By the age of 2, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet.
5 Reasons to take care of your pet’s teeth
- Pets that don’t get dental care can painfully lose their teeth. Also as their teeth decay, they can experience a great deal of pain. This in turn can affect their behavior.
- Dogs, cats and other pets can be very good at hiding their pain. Therefore, dental problems develop to the point it’s too late and teeth have to be pulled.
- Animals need their teeth to properly chew their food. It is the first stage of digestion. But as they age, their teeth do wear out and this will affect their ability to chew their food.
- Excessive wear of pet teeth can lead to the teeth and gums becoming infected.
- Dental infections can lead to serious problems with your pet’s organs. The bacteria in the oral cavity of a pet with periodontal disease can travel into the circulatory system. From there it can travel throughout the pet’s body and can cause damage to the heart, liver and kidneys.
Signs That Your Pet May Have Dental Problems
- bad breath
- broken or loose teeth
- extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- discolored teeth
- abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- pain in or around the mouth
- bleeding from the mouth
- swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
Importance of Dental X-rays and Professional Cleaning
We can detect some gum disease from a visual exam. However, we cannot always visually detect decay below the gum line. Therefore, one of the most important steps is taking x-rays of every tooth in the mouth during the procedure. When we take x-rays it is astonishes us some of the things we find that cause pain and need treatment that we would not have found without x-rays.
In order to do a thorough exam with x-ray and be able to clean the teeth thoroughly, your pet needs to be under anesthesia. This is to ensure a thorough job is done but also to protect your pet from any harm of jerky movements or breaking their teeth on the instruments used for x-rays and cleaning.
Watch this short clip on the importance of proper veterinarian dental cleaning and x-rays:
In summary, your pet should get their teeth cleaned at a veterinary office at least once or twice a year. However, how often they need cleaning really depends on the current condition of your pet’s teeth. We also highly recommend that you brush your pet’s teeth at home. If you don’t know how to do this one of our team members can show you. If you haven’t scheduled your pet for their dental exam and treatment contact us now to schedule. At Amigo Animal Clinic we recognize the importance of your pet’s oral health and so maintain a very low cost for our dental services.