Your Pet’s Oral Health Matters
Most people have heard of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, and how it affects our oral health. But did you know the same condition can also develop in our pets? In the veterinary world, it’s known as periodontal disease or pet dental disease and is the most common dental issue among animals in the United States.
This common condition is also significantly more likely to affect pets than humans, and in particular, dogs. This is due to the dog’s alkaline environment in their mouths and the lack of daily brushing which is more conducive to plaque formation that leads to periodontal disease. Explore our guide to pet dental disease and get a better understanding of how it may be affecting your furry friend below.
What Is Pet Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an oral infection that aids in progressive inflammation of the gum tissues and if left untreated can eventually lead to serious consequences for your pet’s overall health. This includes the destruction of the bone, gums, and other oral structures that hold your pet’s teeth in place. While these complications don’t happen until the more advanced stages, your pet can still suffer through symptoms caused by the early stages of periodontal disease.
Your pet develops periodontal disease when food particles and bacteria accumulate along the gum line and turn into plaque. Plaque contains bacteria and acids that spread onto the gum tissue and cause inflammation, irritation, and infection. The symptoms of pet gum disease include sore and swollen gums, receding gum tissue, and bone deterioration.
Determining if Your Pet Has Periodontal Disease
It’s sometimes hard to distinguish whether or not your pet is suffering from any type of health condition due to its ability to mask its symptoms or pain. The initial signs of periodontal disease are subtle and can be very easy to overlook. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t detect the oral health issue. Eventually, your pet will start to show the signs they have gum disease, which include:
- Loss of interest in food
- Loss of interest in toys
- Producing excess salvia
- Pawing or rubbing at their mouth
- Dropped food when trying to eat
- Noticing blood in their food or water bowls caused by bleeding gums
- Red and inflamed gums
- Bad breath
- Teeth that look yellow or brown
- Obvious pain when using their mouth or when you try to look at or clean their teeth
If your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it’s important to call our Fishers veterinary office at (317) 841-1846 to set up an appointment as soon as possible.
Treating Pet Periodontal Disease
Unfortunately, there’s no permanent cure for treating periodontal disease. That’s why preventive care is so important. One of the best ways to prevent pet periodontal disease is by brushing their teeth regularly. While brushing your animal’s teeth may sound daunting, it’s easy and most animals learn to tolerate it. Our experienced veterinary team can show you the best techniques and talk you through this area of pet preventive care.
Chew toys and dental chews are also great preventive tools to help avoid the development of periodontal disease. Chewing stimulates your pet’s body to produce additional saliva which can counteract plaque acids. It also washes away bacteria and food particles before they have a chance to form plaque. Many dental chews also contain ingredients that are specifically used for the benefits to their oral health.
It’s also important to bring your pet in at least once a year so we can perform a professional cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions
A dental cleaning is a short-term fix for helping eliminate your pet’s bad breath but it isn’t a permanent fix. Without regular toothbrushing, odor-causing plaque and tartar will begin to accumulate on your pet’s teeth again. Of course, keeping up with preventive measures such as regular brushing and using water additives are great ways to help your pet’s breath stay fresh and aid in their oral health.
When you bring your pet into our Fishers veterinary office, Dr. Nix is able to examine your pet for any underlying issues and perform a deep cleaning that allows us to reach spots you can’t get at home. Dental x-rays are often recommended if there’s a suspected tooth root problem so we can get a bigger picture of the area. All of this is done while your pet is under general anesthesia, ensuring they have a comfortable and pain-free experience!
Give Your Pet The Best Care at Windermere Animal Hospital
At Windermere Animal Hospital, we strive to provide the best pet care to ensure your furry friends can live their best life. We provide periodontal disease services to make sure your pet’s oral health stays intact. If you feel your pet is suffering from periodontal disease, get in touch. To schedule an appointment, call our Fishers veterinary office at (317) 841-1846. You can also get in touch by filling out our online contact form and we’ll get back to you shortly.