You make sure your pet gets proper nutrition, exercise and attention, but attention to a dog or cat’s teeth is just as important as — and contributes to — his overall health.
That’s why the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends having your pet’s teeth checked at least once a year. At your pet’s dental checkup your veterinarian will perform basically the same functions as your own dentist; that includes x-rays, cleaning, repair or extraction, if necessary. Veterinary technicians can also perform some of the procedures.
Pet dental exams are usually performed under anesthesia, so that a thorough check, both above and below the gumline (most dental problems begin below the gumline) can be made without upsetting your dog or cat, notes AVMA, which cautions that if your dog or cat is experiencing any of the following, have him checked immediately.
- bad breath
- broken or loose teeth
- extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
- abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- pain in or around the mouth
- bleeding from the mouth
- swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
Pets experience the same dental problems as people. One example is periodontal disease. Early detection is important, which is why annual checkups are imperative. Left unchecked, periodontal disease can damage your dog’s or cat’s kidneys, liver, and heart. Other dental problems include:
- abscesses or infected teeth
- cysts or tumors in the mouth
- malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
- broken (fractured) jaw
- palate defects (such as cleft palate)
Don’t neglect your pet’s teeth between checkups. Brush your dog’s or cat’s teeth at least several times a week. There are many toothpastes and toothbrushes available made specifically for pets that make the job easier.
All Creatures Great and Small : 4945 Forest Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60515 : 630.852.0910 : https://www.downersgrovevet.com/