We know that your pet is part of your family, and it’s essential to take good care of them. To help you out, we’ve put together this blog about dental care for both cats and dogs. Inside, you’ll find information on common oral health issues among these pets, the symptoms of these conditions, and how to help prevent them.
For both cats and dogs, oral health care is critical. Since your pets can’t schedule their own dental appointments, it’s up to you to do your best to help keep them healthy.
Trust the Experts
If it’s been a while since your pet’s last routine vet appointment or they’ve never had an oral health exam, you should schedule a dental checkup with your veterinarian. Your vet will perform an oral health exam and clean your pet’s teeth. The doctor may also order dental x-rays to get a more detailed look at your pet’s teeth, gums, and jaws. Most pet dentistry is performed under anesthesia to make the procedure as comfortable and relaxing for your pet as possible. When the appointment is finished, your vet will let you know if your furry family member has good oral health or if more intervention is needed.
Signs of Dental Disease
Mild signs of dental disease include bleeding gums, bad breath, or loose teeth. These signs typically develop slowly, so you may not notice them until they are advanced or your pet begins exhibiting signs of discomfort. Some clear signs of oral health issues include:
- Excessive tartar buildup
- Persistent bad breath
- Broken, chipped, or splintered teeth.
Oftentimes, we notice that our pets are sick because they aren’t behaving normally. Behavioral symptoms of dental disease in cats and dogs include:
- Changes in appetite
- Inability to chew properly
- Difficulty coordinating teeth and mouth movements
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately for an exam and treatment recommendations. Dental disease can significantly impact your pet’s quality of life and requires specialized treatment to correct. After a dental exam, your vet will recommend the necessary procedures to restore your pet’s oral health. Your treatment plan may include deep cleaning the teeth, advanced at-home hygiene steps, dental fillings to treat cavities, or extractions to address advanced dental decay.
Preventive Dentistry for Pets
You can improve and maintain your pets’ dental health with regular brushing. If possible, it’s a good idea to brush your pets’ teeth at least once per day to avoid issues like tooth decay, periodontal disease, and gingivitis.
You can pick up a pet toothbrush at the vet’s office or buy one at your favorite pet supply store. While it may take some time for both you and your pet to adjust to regular brushing, as time goes on, it will become a regular part of your routine.
Tips for Brushing Your Pets’ Teeth
Brushing your pet’s teeth will go more smoothly with these essential tips. First, ensure that you use a toothpaste formulated specifically for pets, and ensure the toothbrush is soft. Then use the toothbrush to rub the teeth gently. If your pet seems uncomfortable or resists, take a small break and then try again.
Once your pet is comfortable with you brushing their teeth, you can move on to the gums. Hold your pet’s mouth closed and gently brush the gums and the teeth that are visible around the gumline.
Proper preventive health care is one of the best ways to ensure your pet lives a happy, healthy life. Their oral health is a key component of their overall well-being, and just like humans, pets can suffer significant discomfort from untreated dental issues. To halt dental problems before they begin, be sure to schedule regular dental checkups with your vet and make brushing your pet’s teeth a regular part of your routine.