While we recognize the importance of our pets’ dental health every February during Pet Dental Month, it’s important to have their mouths routinely examined to ensure pet health year-round!
Dental disease is the most common health issue in pets (78% of dogs, 68% of cats) and can be linked to serious health concerns like tooth loss or disease or infection of the heart, liver, or kidneys.
Your pets’ teeth will begin to coat with bacteria, which then forms into soft plaque. Plaque consists of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. When this plaque hardens or calficies, tarter develops. If both plaque and tarter are allowed to accumulate, this can lead to gingivitis, causing painful inflammation along the gum line and allowing for the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Left untreated, gingivitis may eventually lead to periodontal disease, which can cause pain, tooth loss, and severe infection, and as periodontal disease progress, the gums will recede, allowing bacterial to travel into the bloodstream and throughout the body, which could lead to other health problems as mentioned before.
Plaque bacteria can develop on a clean tooth in 24 to 36 hours, so within a few days of a professional dental cleaning, their teeth are already accumulating plaque. The goal of brushing your pets’ teeth at home is to remove plaque to slow calculus build-up on the surface of the tooth. Owners who brush their pets’ teeth on a daily basis are more likely to notice other oral issues such as fractured teeth, oral tumors, and lesions.
VOHC Approved Products
The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) reviews products and recognizes the products that meets the standards of effectiveness in controlling the accumulation of dental plaque and calculus in dogs and cats. Click on the links below to view VOHC approved products.
Products for dogs: http://www.vohc.org/VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Dogs.pdf
Products for cats: http://www.vohc.org/VOHCAcceptedProductsTable_Cats.pdf
Signs to look out for:
- Bad breath or foul odors coming from the mouth
- Sensitivity or swelling near the mouth/changes in eating habits or chewing or loss of appetite/weight loss
- Pawing at the mouth or face
- Excessive drooling
- Inflamed, red, or bleeding gums
- Loose, broken, or abscessed teeth