City Blog Edmonton

Heard By The Crowd

What Are Common Dental Issues in Dogs and Cats?

When it comes to the health of your furry companions, their mouths might not be the first thing you consider. But just like humans, dogs and cats can suffer from various dental problems affecting their overall well-being. Let’s dive into these adorable pets’ common dental issues and understand the importance of keeping their pearly whites in tip-top shape. After all, a healthy mouth can lead to a longer, happier life for your pet.

Veterinary Dentist and Your Pet’s Oral Health

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of dental ailments, it’s essential to highlight the role of a dog dentist. These are veterinarians who specialize in dental care for pets. They are trained to detect, treat, and prevent oral diseases, ensuring your canine’s chewers stay healthy. Though less commonly referred to as cat dentists, they are equally adept at offering feline dental care.

1. Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease in pets might begin with mere plaque but can escalate into something so severe that it affects their overall health and happiness. Awareness of the signs and how to prevent this disease is a cornerstone of responsible pet ownership. Here’s a deeper dive into spotting and thwarting this oral adversary:

  • Bad breath: That distinct odor isn’t just characteristic of “dog breath” or “fishy cat breath.” It often indicates that harmful bacteria are at work beneath the gumline.

  • Red, swollen gums: Gums should be a healthy pink, not red and inflamed. If you see red around your pet’s gums, consider it a red flag for periodontal problems.

  • Difficulty eating: If your furry friend is suddenly less enthusiastic about food or chews with obvious discomfort, it could be a sign that their teeth or gums are bothering them.

  • Loose teeth: A wobbly tooth isn’t normal for pet aging. It often indicates advancing periodontal disease, which will require professional care.

2. Preventing the Perils of Periodontal Disease

Now that you’re clued into the signs, let’s discuss prevention. Here’s how you can be proactive in keeping your pet’s teeth healthy:

  • Regular brushing: Using pet-safe toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush, establish a routine for brushing your pet’s teeth, aiming for at least several times a week.

  • Dental treats and toys: Many products on the market are designed to help reduce the buildup of plaque and tartar. Make these a part of your pet’s daily routine for optimal dental health.

3. The Toothache

Dental abscesses are another critical concern for pet owners. These infections can cause immediate pain and potential long-term health issues. Knowing the symptoms and seeking timely treatment is essential:

  • Recognizing an abscess: Besides pain, look for signs like facial swelling, reluctance to chew, or a visible bump or redness in the mouth.

  • Immediate action: Don’t delay getting veterinary care if you suspect an abscess. Untreated abscesses can lead to more significant health risks.

4. Tooth Resorption

Tooth resorption is a less understood yet not less serious condition that can cause great discomfort to your pet, occasionally leading to tooth loss. Here’s how you can help:

  • Regular inspections: Check your cat’s mouth periodically; look for signs like missing teeth or a red line along the gums, often indicative of resorption.

  • Annual vet visits: Make sure you’re sticking to your vet’s recommended check-up schedule — they’re often the first to notice silent issues like tooth resorption.

5. Broken Teeth

Accidents happen, and broken teeth in pets are a typical veterinary emergency. Preventive steps and knowledge on what to do if an accident occurs can save your pet from pain:

  • Mouth checks: As part of your pet care routine, gently examine your pet’s mouth for cracked or broken teeth, especially if they’re acting out of sorts.

  • Suitable toys: Choose chew toys wisely. They should be firm enough to be enjoyable but not so hard they could break a tooth.

  • Immediate veterinary care: If you find a broken tooth, visit your vet immediately. Quick action can prevent infection and potentially save the tooth.

6. Retained Baby Teeth

Just like children, puppies and kittens lose their baby teeth. But occasionally, these milk teeth decide to stick around, which can lead to discomfort and dental issues:

  • Double-checking teeth: Keep an eye on your young pet’s teeth. If you see both baby and adult teeth, it’s time to talk to your vet.

  • Prompt dental care: Your veterinarian can safely remove retained baby teeth to prevent future complications such as overcrowding or misalignment.

Caring for your pet’s dental health might seem like a task, but it quickly becomes a labor of love when you see the benefits it brings to your furry family member’s life. Regular oral care can prevent pain, save on future veterinary costs, and, most importantly, keep your pet happy and healthy. You can also schedule a pet check up for your pet’s overall wellness.

7. Maintaining Your Pet’s Dental Health

Beyond brushing and toys, what else is critical for your pet’s dental health? An essential part of the puzzle is ensuring they receive pet vaccinations. Some diseases preventable by vaccinations can have symptoms that manifest in the mouth. Not to mention, a healthy immune system is better equipped to fend off potential oral infections.

Choosing the Right Diet for Dental Health

Diet plays a significant role in your pet’s oral health. Feeding them a balanced diet, including dry kibble that helps remove plaque, can prevent many dental issues. Wet food is fine, too, but be mindful as it can sometimes contribute to plaque buildup.

Annual Dental Checkups

Make sure to pencil in regular dental checkups with your vet. Annual or biannual visits, depending on your pet’s age and breed, can help identify and treat issues before they escalate.

Remember, by caring for your pet’s dental health, you look after their overall well-being. A happy mouth leads to a happy, tail-wagging companion. So, keep those smiles shining bright.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, many common dental issues can affect our dogs and cats, from periodontal disease to broken teeth. By being proactive with your pet’s dental care, such as utilizing a dog dentist, keeping up with regular pet check-ups, and ensuring they have their pet vaccinations, you contribute to their health and happiness. You’re also setting the stage for a lifetime of wellness. Remember, your furry friend depends on you for their health and comfort. By giving their dental care the attention it deserves, you’ll be rewarded with a companion full of joy, energy, and gratitude. So get out there and show love to those canine and feline chompers.