Steps You Can Take to Help Keep Your Pet’s Mouth Healthy
Just as humans need to take preventative steps for keeping teeth, gums and overall oral health in check, pets also need help showing their pearly whites some love to maintain a healthy, clean mouth. Unfortunately, oral infections like periodontal disease are quite common, affecting more than 75 percent of pets over the age of two. And one of the most common diseases seen today in pets is gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease that affects the gums.
When pets eat, any residual food particles left behind in the mouth can promote the growth of bacteria, forming a layer of plaque (which then goes on to attach to the teeth and harden to form tartar and calculus). When this plaque gets under the gum line, that’s when things can really progress and led to an unhealthy mouth. Early treatment and some preventative measures that pet owners can implement at home can go a long way in the oral, and overall, health of pets.
In addition to keeping your pet’s mouth clean to help with their level of comfort and combating bad breath, solid dental health habits can help maintain your pet’s overall health as research has shown links between periodontal disease and diseases of the heart, liver, kidney and other parts of the body.
When left untreated, periodontal disease may lead to:
- Chronic pain for inflection and inflammation
- Decreased quality of life
- Decreased appetite and weigh loss
- Tooth loss
- Distant organ damage (for example, disease of the heart, liver or kidneys) caused by bacteria from the mouth traveling through the bloodstream
- Adverse or negative behavior caused by pain
Early treatment is the best way to prevent any pain, loss of teeth and treatments that can be more expensive when the problem is enhanced than routine maintenance.
Maintaining a health mouth for your pets requires a combination of:
- Developing an at-home dental care plan that works for you and your pet – our veterinarians at Animal Hospital of Woodstock can help consult on a plan customized to your pet and your needs
- Annual or bi-annual examinations by your veterinarian to evaluate how the at-home dental care plan is working and adjust as needed
- Annual professional teeth cleaning – just as humans need dental cleanings, so does your pet! During the month of February, we are offering $50 off dental cleaning PLUS an additional $50 off if you take advantage of our full mouth x-rays (valued at $118)
- Routine brushing with pet toothpaste – be sure not to use your toothpaste, it’s not made for pets!
- Dental formulated diets, dental chews and other products that your veterinarian recommends to help with dental health
The Animal Hospital of Woodstock staff is here to answer any questions and help incorporate oral health habits into your pet’s routine to help ensure a healthier life for pets – and a cleaner mouth for kisses!