Just as with people, pet dental care is a very important part of overall pet health. Problems with teeth and gums can lead to additional health issues that reach beyond your pet’s mouth. Your pet’s teeth should be examined at least annually to check for early signs of problems that can be treated before they become a serious health issue.
Signs of Pet Dental Problems
During a dental exam, your veterinarian will check for signs of trouble, including:
- loose or broken teeth
- bad breath
- painful areas in the mouth
- bleeding from teeth or gums
- palate defects
The doctor will also ask you about symptoms, such as changes in eating habits, drooling, or bleeding from the gums.
Common Pet Dental Problems
Periodontal disease, the formal name for gum disease, is the most common pet dental problem. It affects most pets, starting at around three years old. It happens when dental plaque builds up into tarter. Tarter above the gum line is easily seen and removed, but when it builds up out of sight, below the gum line, it can lead to infection and damage to your pet’s jaw bone. Treatment includes a thorough dental cleaning under anesthesia, and sometimes x-rays.
Retained baby teeth is another common problem in dogs. If the baby teeth don’t fall out, they can cause crowding and affect the eruption of permanent teeth.
Stomatitis is the inflammation of a pet’s oral mucous membranes. It’s most common in cats but can also affect dogs.
Better Teeth Equals Better Health
Besides directly causing your pet discomfort, dental disease can cause systemic illnesses, including possible kidney or heart disease. Prevention and early detection will help keep your pet healthy and prevent painful and expensive problems from developing.
Call us today to schedule an appointment for a thorough dental examination for your pet in our Hayward, CA, animal hospital. Your furry friend will thank you.