Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Health Benefits of Clean Teeth for Dogs

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, but good dental health for your pets should be a daily ritual for owners all year long.

The Facts About Gum Disease and Tooth Decay for Dogs

According to the AVMA , "more than 85% of dogs and cats that are at least 4 years old have a condition in which bacteria attack the soft gum tissue”. This condition is called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the final stage in a process that begins with plaque, or a bacterial film on the surface of the teeth. In early stages, plaque can be easily dislodged when you brush your dog’s teeth or when he chews on hard toys or food. If the plaque is not removed the bacteria will attach to the teeth and become calcified through the calcium in your dog’s saliva. The hard surface becomes tartar and more plaque will accumulate. Once this stage of plaque has occurred, it will take a professional cleaning to get the tartar off the teeth and heal the gums. If the plaque is not removed, infection by the root of the tooth can occur. Progression could include the deterioration of the tissue surrounding the tooth, the erosion of the tooth socket, and a loose tooth.

Warning Signs

 The warning signs of gum disease include:

  •  bad breath, red and swollen gums
  •  yellow-brown crusts of tartar along the gum lines
  •  bleeding or pain when the gums or mouth are touched
 Pets with developing gingivitis and periodontal diseases often:

  •  paw at their face or mouth frequently
  •  have excessive drool
  •  may exhibit an unwillingness to eat harder foods.

See your Veterinarian

Because dental problems can affect other areas of your dog’s body, including the lungs, kidneys, and heart, it is essential that you care for your pet’s teeth right from the start of his life. Your veterinarian may recommend a professional teeth-cleaning for your dog or cat once a year or as needed. Performing a thorough oral exam requires the use of general anesthesia, so your vet will first give Fido or Fluffy a pre-anesthetic exam. Once the anesthesia is administered your pet’s vitals, including respiration, temperature and heart rate, will be monitored while the veterinarian takes dental radiographs and uses instruments to scale and polish your pet’s teeth, removing tartar and plaque build up that could otherwise lead to dental issues. In cases of serious oral disease, your veterinarian may recommend a tooth extraction.

The Positives of Good Canine Dental Health

Keeping on top of your pet’s dental health has lasting positive effects — some studies suggest that maintaining oral health can add up to five years to your pet’s life. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, so now is the perfect time to call your veterinarian and schedule a dental check up for your furry family member. While nothing can take the place of regular visits to the veterinarian for checkups and cleaning, ongoing follow-up oral care at home can include brushing your dog’s teeth. Be sure to check with your veterinarian for more information on what you can do to control the buildup of plague on your dog’s teeth.

Some good articles we found on: