Open Wide, It’s Dental Time!

Dental focus is among us, and it’s that time of the year when it’s a good idea to take a look into your pets’ mouth to evaluate the entire oral cavity both for signs of illness and dental disease. Our pets cannot look after their oral hygiene, so the onus is on us as furry moms and dads to do it for them.

Dental disease can, and does, occur at any life stage but typically begins in the middle to late adult years.

Signs to watch for that your pet could be suffering from the dental disease are as follows:

1) Persistent bad breath (often the #1 symptom that sends owners running to the Vet)
2) Reddening of the gums
3) Receding Gums
4) Gums that bleed easily (you may notice this when brushing or when they’re eating or chewing on things).
5) Loose or missing teeth
6) Disinterest in food or difficulty chewing
7) Drooling
8) Pawing at the mouth or face rubbing against things
9) Irritability (due to a painful/sensitive mouth)
10) Depression

Dental disease in our pets is more common than people think. In the very early stages (4 stages) it is silent. It’s mostly when it advances into the 2 nd and 3 rd stages that people begin to notice it. There is NO cure for dental disease. However, you CAN slow the progression of it. The best treatment is through PREVENTION. Prevention starts at home with daily brushing, rinses, dental diets etc. This should begin the moment you bring your new furry friend home. This is CRUCIAL as are regular exams with the Veterinarian (annually at a minimum or the moment any concern arises) The more accustomed your pet is to having his/her mouth touched, poked and prodded and more comfortable it will become.

Broken/loose teeth should also be tended to quickly.

A dental disease that is left untreated can not only lead to pain and discomfort for your pet but also organ damage that will eventually lead to significant illness and/or death. Your pets’ oral health should be taken as seriously as your own.

Also, did you know that many pet insurance policies cover annual dental cleanings?

Contact your pet’s Health Insurance provider to see if your pet is covered!

Written by Lisa Michalik, RVT