Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.
- Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Loose teeth
- Weight loss
Pets can often mask signs of illness, so even if your dog or cat doesn’t exhibit any of these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. At Baywood Veterinary Hospital we include a dental evaluation as part of every physical examination we conduct on your pet. In addition, you will be instructed on how to brush and properly care for your pet’s teeth.
Just like in people, bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to gingivitis and deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay is very painful and can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.
Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems aren’t caught and treated early they can result in severe illness and even death. A physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if infection in the mouth has spread. In the case of dental health prevention is far easier, safer and less painful for your pet, and far less expensive for you than treatment of dental disease. Call us today to schedule a physical exam if you have not had your pet’s teeth checked recently.