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Pet Dental Health: Dogs and Cats Need Dental Care Too!

This February, celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month with Mobile Plus Vet Clinic by learning how to take care of your pet’s teeth. Dental care plays an important role in your pet’s overall health, which is why we make dental care a priority.


By age 3, most dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease (also called gum or dental disease). With periodontal disease may come other potential health problems—and not just in a pet’s mouth. Besides gum recession, infection, pain, and tooth loss, periodontal disease can cause changes in the heart, kidneys, and liver.


What is periodontal disease?


Plaque forms on teeth constantly (pets and humans alike). When it’s not removed regularly, through brushing, it changes into hardened tartar within about 24 hours. Plaque continues to form on top of the tartar.


Tartar can’t be brushed away. It must be removed during a professional dental cleaning.


If these layers of bacteria-laden tartar aren’t removed, both above and below the gumline by a veterinary cleaning, your pet will end up with inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), which will progress to deeper infiltration of oral bacteria which damage the support structures of the tooth, eventually causing tooth loss (advanced periodontal disease).


When pets don’t receive regular dental care, they may need more than just a cleaning. Dental extractions may be required to remove teeth affected by significant periodontal disease to make a pet’s mouth healthy and comfortable again.


What are signs of dental problems in pets?

We will assess your pet’s oral health during an examination; however, changes can occur between visits.

Contact us if you notice:

  • Bad breath
  • Brown or yellow teeth
  • Red gums (gingivitis)
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Broken or loose teeth
  • Reluctance to eat or chew or preference for soft food
  • Dropping food from the mouth
  • Chewing abnormally
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Sneezing


Bad breath in pets isn’t normal. It’s almost always a sign of oral health issues.


How can you help keep your pet’s mouth healthy?


Bring your pet in for a dental exam

Bringing your pet in for regular veterinary dental health exams and cleanings (as recommended) is the first step to achieving better dental health for your dog or cat.

We can only assess about 40% of a dog or cat’s teeth by just looking at them, so for every dental procedure, we use state-of-the-art digital X-rays to show us what might be lurking unseen, such as painful root disease, tooth resorption, or the extent of a cracked tooth. That way, we can be sure we’re giving your pet all the treatment they need.


Our team also takes plenty of precautions to ensure that dental procedures are as safe as possible for our patients:

  • We perform preanesthetic bloodwork before a dental cleaning or surgery to ensure that pets are healthy enough to undergo anesthesia and we tailor anesthesia medications to individual pets, as needed.
  • We actively monitor pets during and after dental procedures to make sure their vital signs stay within normal ranges, similar to protocols used when people undergo anesthesia.

During a dental cleaning, our specially trained, registered veterinary technician will remove built-up plaque and tartar above and below the gumline, then polish your pet’s teeth to smooth the surface, which can help slow future tartar buildup.


If your pet needs any additional dental care, such as extractions, we will make sure you understand what needs to be done and why.


Make home care a priority

You play an essential role in your pet’s dental health. Brushing your pet’s teeth is the cornerstone of dental care and one of the most important steps you can take to help slow dental disease. We’d be happy to give you tips to help get you started!


Never use human toothpaste in pets. It contains ingredients that can make your pet sick.


Although daily brushing is ideal, we understand that it may not always be practical. Fortunately, many dental products can help control plaque and tartar buildup in your pet:

  • Dental diets and chews
  • Dental toys
  • Oral rinses and sprays
  • Drinking water additives
  • Dental sealants (which must first be applied after a professional dental cleaning and then reapplied at home)


Ask us which products we recommend for your pet. You should also look for products with the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance.


By being proactive about dental care, you can help protect your pet’s overall health.


Have you scheduled your pet’s dental exam?

We recommend that pets visit us at least once a year for an annual check up and dental evaluation. We’ll examine your pet’s teeth and gums and tell you what we recommend for your pet’s oral health.


If your pet is showing signs of dental trouble, however, don’t wait for your pet’s annual exam. Call us or make an appointment with Vet Mobile Plus today!

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