February is Pet Dental Health Month. This is definitely an important topic! Dental issues are very common among our furry friends. However, many people overlook this aspect of their pets’ care. A local Champions Forest, TX vet discusses dental health below.
The most prevalent dental issue is probably gum disease. Over 80 percent of dogs over the age of three are afflicted. As for kitties, studies show that at least half of cats over age four have it, but the numbers may actually be much higher. Gum disease, as you may know, is particularly concerning. Not only is it a leading cause of tooth loss, it’s also been linked to some other health issues, such as heart disease. Some other issues we often see in pets include cysts, tumors, misalignments, and abscesses. Dogs are also prone to cracked or broken teeth, which isn’t surprising, given Fido’s affinity for chewing, well, everything. Feline stomatitis and tooth resorption are also fairly common in cats.
Your furry pal can’t tell you if something is hurting them, so it’s important to watch for warning signs. Bad breath is a common one. Some of the others include drooling, visible tartar buildup, swelling, and bleeding gums, which can lead to smears on your pet’s toys and dishes. Dental issues can also affect how your dog or cat chews. It’s no fun trying to eat with tooth pain! Fido and Fluffy may chew on one side of their mouth, start preferring softer foods, dribble food out of their mouth, or take longer eating. There are also behavioral clues to watch for, such as withdrawal, crankiness, and reduced interest in play. Contact your vet if you notice any of these issues.
Taking care of your furry buddy’s teeth may be easier than you think. The best option is brushing. This will require training, but take heart: many pets become quite accepting, once they realize that they’re being pampered, rather than punished. (Tip: treats will go a long way here.) There are also many dental products on the market, such as treats, chews, and oral flakes and rinses. Ask your vet for specific recommendations. Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to have your four-legged friend’s checked by their vet regularly.
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