February is Pet Dental Health Month, which means it’s time to focus attention on your pet’s teeth! Four out of five pets are living with infection and pain from dental disease and odds are your pet could be one of them. Have you noticed your pet avoiding their favorite chew toy, reluctant to eat dry kibble, pawing at their mouth or bad breath? These are all signs of Periodontal disease. The unpleasant odor thought to be simply “bad breath” is evidence of a potentially dangerous health risk.
Periodontal disease starts with bacteria called plaque, which sticks to the tooth’s surface. Plaque hardens into calculus, or tartar becoming securely attached. Bacteria secretes under the gum line contributing to tissue damage. As the disease progresses, bone begins to decay causing tooth loss and severe discomfort.
Fortunately for your pet periodontal disease is preventable. Regular examinations by your veterinarian can reveal early signs of the disease. Your veterinarian may recommend routine dental cleanings followed by an at home dental program. At River Mill Animal Hospital, a professional cleaning includes: a full oral exam, measurement of gum recession, ultra-sonic scaling to remove plaque and tartar, polishing to smooth the tooth’s surface and a fluoride treatment to protect from bacteria. After a professional cleaning it is important to keep your pet’s teeth sparkling. Regular brushing prevents plaque from accumulating and forming into tartar. Keep sessions short, offer plenty of praise, and use only animal toothpaste. Pet formulated paste is safe to swallow and flavored to appeal to their taste buds. Human toothpaste is toxic to pets, and should never be used. If you don’t have time to brush, tartar control treats are a great way to reward your pet and help clean their teeth. One tasty treat a day is equivalent to a manual brushing.
Call to schedule your dental health consultation today! River Mill Animal Hospital wants to remind pet owners caring for your pet’s pearly whites is a year round job!