February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and we know what you’re thinking; who needs a dental health month? That too for pets? But trust us when we say that your pet’s dental health is just as important as paying attention to their overall wellbeing.
So in honor of this month, we thought we’d share some information on just how your pet’s dental hygiene reflects their general health and how you can help your furry friend stay as healthy and happy as possible.
Why is dental health so important?
If you neglect your pet’s dental hygiene, they run the risk of developing severe health problems.
Statistics show that 85% of pets have periodontal disease by the time they are three years old. This nasty disease starts off as inflammation of the gums – known as gingivitis. From there, it can slowly destroy the supporting tissue around the tooth resulting in tooth loss. The damage from this disease can have permanent consequences and even affect the pet’s organs in the long run.
There may be other warning signs, such as bad breath, that you may be overlooking. Now, obviously you don’t expect your pet to have minty fresh breath, but exceptionally bad breath can often signal more complications in a pet’s health such as problems with their heart and liver. This is why it is always a good idea to get things checked out sooner rather than later.
Pets also suffer from broken teeth as a result of chewing on hard toys and treats. While this isn’t as serious as periodontal disease, it is still extremely painful for your pet and can lead to infections that will require you to remove the teeth altogether.
So how can you help your pet?
Naturally, you’ll want to avoid seeing your pet going through the pain of losing teeth or wandering around with infected gums. The very first thing you can do is keep an eye on them and notice any telltale signs such as bad breath. These signs should automatically encourage you to take them to the vet as soon as possible.
However, on a day to day basis, the best thing you can do for your pet is to get them used to letting you brush their teeth. It may sound weird, but if humans can brush their teeth to keep tartar and plaque at bay – why shouldn’t your pet have the same level of care?
Start out slow and let them get used to the idea, and as they get comfortable, get in deeper and try to be as thorough as possible. Brushing their teeth will ensure that there is minimal plaque buildup and your pet is at a lower risk of diseases.
Regular dental checkups by your vet are the surest way to keep your pet’s dental health up to date. Your vet will be able to assess what kind of treatment your pet needs and will be qualified to do a deeper dental cleaning if need be.
Sometimes, certain cleaning will require your pet to be under anesthesia so the vet can fully inspect the teeth and clear out any tartar or plaque buildup, repair or remove infected teeth, and conduct x-rays to evaluate any deeper problems.
If you are in Fayetteville, contact us for an appointment at 910-487-5013 and get your pet checked out by our professionals.