The Importance of Dental Care for Pets
When you take steps to care for the dental health of your pets, it’s about more than keeping those pearly whites shining bright. You’ll be improving their overall health and wellness at the same time, since oral health issues often lead to other health complications. Dental health problems are more common than you might think. In fact, by the time they are 3 years old, most cats and dogs will suffer from some form of periodontal disease, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Periodontal disease refers to the infection and inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth, also known as dental disease or gingivitis. An infection in the soft tissue can spread to the bone and ultimately cause the tooth to fall out or require extraction. Sometimes the tooth itself begins to decay and has to be removed.
The best way to deal with periodontal disease is to prevent it from getting started. When you brush your pet’s teeth regularly, provide dental chews and toys that offer some of the benefits of brushing, and bring them in at least once a year for a professional exam and cleaning by our team at Animal Health Clinic of Baton Rouge, you’ll be giving them the best chance at lifelong dental health and wellness.
The condition of your pets’ dental health may not be obvious at a glance, and even if they have some pain, it can be hard to tell. Certain symptoms that a problem may be developing are not as hard to detect, such as bad breath. If your dog or cat’s morning breath lasts all day, it’s no laughing matter. You might also notice excessive drooling, a lack of interest in chew toys, a change in eating habits, chronic eye infections or frequent sneezing. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, be sure to call us right away.
If your pet is on the older side, it’s still a good idea to start an oral care routine. When you bring them in for a cleaning, we can also establish a baseline for reference if problems come up in the future.
No matter their age, we recommend daily brushing of your pet’s teeth for optimal health. When that frequency isn’t feasible, do it as often as you can and obviously – the more often the better. A few simple tools and strategies can make it less of a chore. Start with a toothpaste that is made and flavored for dogs or cats – never the human variety, which contains components that shouldn’t be swallowed. You can spread it on a favorite toy or treat until they get used to the taste. A finger brush may be easier at the beginning, but once you both get used to the routine you can graduate to a toothbrush that’s specially designed for dogs or cats. Once you get in the habit, it will get easier for both of you.
Call us today at (225) 314-5250 to schedule a dental exam and to discuss whether or not a professional cleaning is needed for your pet’s teeth. Together, we can catch any problems before they develop further and provide the best possible care for their ongoing dental and overall health.