Say Cheese! What You Can Do About Pet Dental Care

A cat having its teeth brushedPeople who say animals don’t (or can’t) smile just aren’t paying attention. While this phenomenon is definitely not unique to cats and dogs (dolphins, sloths, and chimpanzees all appear to be “cheesing it”), we see plenty of happy, smiling pets every single day.

Their secret? …Beyond being expertly provided for, these smiling pets have dazzlingly healthy teeth and gums! Maybe we’re exaggerating slightly, but one of the keys to optimal health is – you guessed it – pet dental care.

The Power of the Brush

When it comes to long term health, most pet owners understand the power of good pet dental care. However, not all pick up their pet’s toothbrush as often as they should. While it’s never too late to get started, if your pet already has kitty or doggie breath (also known as halitosis), there’s probably evidence of decay. Other tell-tale symptoms of poor oral health include:

  • Broken, worn, loose, missing, or discolored teeth
  • Swollen, inflamed, or bleeding gums
  • Loss of appetite or difficulty eating
  • Jaw or mouth pain
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Behavioral changes

These painful symptoms will not go away on their own, so please give us a call right away.

Why it Matters

Chronic inflammation in the mouth, oral infections, and dental disease are terrible on their own, but when you consider the other problems they can cause, they’re downright despicable. Heart, liver, and kidney disease have all been linked to poor oral health, which are three more reasons to get on the ball!

The Timeline

The buildup of plaque and tarter create calculus on your pet’s teeth and gum line, which contributes to periodontal disease (something that many pets over age three have in one stage or another). At Berkeley Veterinary Center, we evaluate your pet’s teeth and gums during each wellness exam. If it’s determined that he or she could benefit from a professional cleaning under anesthesia, we’ll make that recommendation.

And Then?

Digital radiographs give us enormous insight into what’s going on beneath the surface and below the gum line. These images help us determine if any extractions are needed before we clean, scale, and polish your pet’s teeth.

At-Home Pet Dental Care

Preventing dental disease must also include daily (or at least regular) at-home brushing. Establishing and maintaining this routine can add years to your pet’s life.

We’re happy to help you find the right toothbrush and toothpaste for your pet, such as those endorsed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. Start slowly, offer lots of praise and encouragement, and don’t give up! Pair brushing with grooming, exercise, or after a pleasing meal.

Prevention is Key

As with all matters related to your pet’s overall wellness, preventing dental disease is essential. Please let us know how we can help you get started!

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