When it comes my family’s dental care, my strategy is checkups are the best way to prevent trouble! And that goes for our pet family, PAWS and Bailey, too.
I checked with our friends at WebVet about the importance of oral health care for pets! I know from my own personal experience with our first Briard, Nash, (beloved and never out of minds for one day) who we nearly lost due to complications from illnesses due to oral infections, just how serious dental health with pets is. Nash fought off sepsis that all began with a tooth infection left unnoticed.
It was a harrowing, heartbreaking, painful disease that he recovered from and went on to live a healthy life minus some choppers. Sadly, he succumbed to a vicious bout with bloat, a subject I will talk about in an upcoming post. Today, in recognition of February being National Pet Dental Health Month, I am highlighting some of the most pressing questions Vet’s get asked all the time about our pet’s dental issues!
Do dogs and cats get dental disease just as people do?
Pets really don’t get cavities like humans do. They do get plaque buildup like us that does lead to red, inflamed gums associated with gingivitis. Left untreated, bacterial plaque overtime can destroy the bone that holds the tooth in place, leading to tooth loss and even blood infection. This can lead to serious infection, possibly even death.
How do I know if my pet is having dental problems?
Early pet problems show few if any signs. You should look for the easiest symptoms which are bad breath and a buildup of gummy film (plaque) around the sides of teeth. As the problem progresses, grayish-brown plaque becomes more noticeable, the gums become red, swollen and sore. Your pet may not want to chew hard food or toys and may stop eating and playing altogether.
How can dental problems be prevented?
Just like us, our pets need regular dental checkups to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Dry food, chew toys, and nylon bones such as Nyla Bones are also good ways to stimulate gums and limit plaque buildup. It’s also a good idea to brush your pet’s teeth regularly with a toothpaste specifically developed for pets. Some good toothpaste products include: CET Enzymatic Toothpaste by Virbac and Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste.
Can pets get their teeth cleaned just like people?
Regular yearly dental cleaning just like for humans, is needed to remove plaque buildup on our pet’s teeth and gums. The process is similar to that used in people, except that thorough cleaning in pets requires general anesthesia. As a result it can be costly. This is why I recommend to all our pet parents that they buy a pet insurance plan that covers dental cleaning. Some of the Pet Insurance Health Plans that cover dental cleaning include: VPI, PetPartners (AKC), Hartville, PurinaCare, & Pets Best.
Here is to a Happy Pet Dental Month for you and your pet. What better way than to show your four-legged fur child some Valentine love then to get your him or her a good dental checkup — this is a great time for a Valentine’s Day photo with your Canine Cupid’s bright and shiny Cuspids!
In celebration of Pet Dental Month, I am giving away 50 Canine Care Guide Wheels for those who spread the word about the importance of Dental Pet Care!
Just log on to our Facebook Page at
“I Checked My Pet’s Teeth Today!”
Karen Barnett & PAWS (Woof!)
Sources: WebVet.com, Yahoo! Lifestyles Network