Pet Periodontal Disease

Plaque Buildup and Bad Breath Can Be A Sign of Painful Dental Disease in Pet's

It creeps in slowly and unseen. What starts out as all-familiar, sweet puppy breath evolves into something smelly and foul. It’s not just bad breath your pet is puffing all over you.

It’s gum disease.

Pets Benefit from Dental Checkups

It’s estimated that more than 80 percent of pets in the U.S. experience gum disease by age 3. Left untreated, abscesses and plaque buildup can turn into a costly visit to the veterinarian.

While February is National Pet Dental Month, anytime is a good time to schedule your pet for a Comprehensive Oral Health Evalution and Treatment (COHAT) and ask any questions you have about dental health for your pet. Veterinary practices often promote these visits in February to encourage pet owners to make that important appointment.

More Than Just Bad Breath

Periodontal disease (also called gum disease) is the primary cause of tooth loss in pets. It’s caused by the buildup of food, plaque, and tartar in the spaces between the gum and the lower part of the tooth. Often, the accumulation leads to infection and inflammation and if left untreated, pets can be in great pain, and may need extractions.

By taking simple preventative measures at home, pet parents may be able to keep their pets’ teeth in good shape and ensure that future COHAT appointments will not mean major dental surgery.

Open Wide!

Veterinarians recommend a regular tooth brushing for cats and dogs. Studies have shown that with regular brushing, incidents of periodontal disease can be reduced significantly. The earlier you begin a dental routine in your pet’s life, the easier the ritual will become over time. Older pets, especially those with advanced periodontal disease, will need dental care under anesthesia first to address all issues.

Ask your veterinarian for tips and the right tools. Do some research online or ask your vet for help on how to best clean your pet’s teeth at home

You will need a few essential things before you get started:

  • - Thimble-style dental scrubber or pet toothbrush.
  • - Pet toothpaste (toothpaste for humans is harmful to pets as it contains artificial sweeteners which are toxic to dogs and cats).
  • - Old towels (wrap your cat securely to prevent scratching).
  • - Patience and time.

Prevent Dental Disease

Ask your veterinarian about the proper types of food recommended for your pet’s dental health. Dogs, with supervision, can benefit from chewy-style treats and toys Kongs that help clean food buildup and plaque from their teeth.

Promote a healthy mouth for your pet and you’ll save yourself time and money, and save your pet the pain of living with dental disease.

Claims for dental disease are on the rise: Nationwide pet insurance policyholders filed more than $19 million in claims for dental care in 2017.

Want to read more about pets and dental care? Learn more about canine oral melanoma and the benefits of routine pet dental care.