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Dogology: Petcare and Your Pets Teeth

Updated on September 4, 2017

Dogs and cats can get gum disease like people

Dental Issues that arise with pets teeth can be costly for the pet owner, and cause discomfort for your dog or cat. There are preventative petcare solutions that can help give your pet the benefits of healthier, stronger and disease free gums and teeth. There is a direct correlation to your pets dental health and his longevity. Gum disease, known as periodontal disease is the most often diagnosed health issue in dogs and cats.

Cleaning your pet’s teeth regularly can help prevent periodontal disease in the gums of your dogs and cats. Proper petcare of your furry companion can help avoid a myriad of health problems that have their basis in untreated teeth and gums. There are simple and routine things you can do for your pet to help alleviate gum disease and tooth loss. Many pet owners are not aware that they can take preventative measures to avoid periodontal diseas in 85% of dogs and cats who are over 4 years old, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dogs and cats, like people get gum disease due to plaque. It starts when our pet eats and the food leaves a residue on the teeth. This layer of food, creates bacteria, called plaque. Brushing removes this coating. If it is not removed by brushing, the plaque sets on the teeth, creating a yellow or brown matter called calculus or tartar. If you see this on your pet’s teeth, it is best to call a veterinarian to have it removed.

Preventative Petcare

An easily identifiable sign of gum disease can be determined by smelling your dog or cat’s breath.  Bad breath in your pet Is an early sign of periodontal disease. Lots of dogs have bad breath, but they don’t have to.  Gum disease happens in a series of steps.  Your veterinarian can do a proper dental examination to figure out how far the progression of periodontal disease has spread.  Proper petcare starts with assessing what stage your pet’s gum disease may be affecting them.  In the early phase of periodontal gum disease, plaque and tartar form, which may cause redness, swelling, and irritation of the gums that has been caused as the plaque and tartar began to form.  The inflammation along the gum line is known as gingivitis, just like people get. Catching gingivitis early is good for you and your pet.  The vet can professional clean your pets teeth at the veterinarian’s office and you can follow up with regular petcare and routine cleanings at home.

If the periodontal disease is not caught early, the gum infection will progress further and cause bleeding from the gums, receding gums, tooth loss and loss of bone.  Oral surgery may be recommended as the periodontal disease progresses so that the gums be properly cleaned.  Petcare of this nature, involves great expense and discomfort, as the vet will clean out the pockets in your pets mouth that are harboring the bacteria.  Because periodontal disease continues to infect the gums and mouth, the bacteria continues to go deeper under the gum line, and can cause the gum tissue to pull away from the bone.  Your veterinarian will clean out the bacteria and attempt to reattach the gum tissue to restore a healthier dental environment in your pets mouth and teeth.  In serious cases, your dog or cat’s teeth may have to be removed if they have been adversely affected by the bacteria from the periodontal disease.  It may be necessary to remove the affected tooth because once those teeth are gone, the periodontal disease is gone.   But these are extreme cases, and only done, when the gum disease has progressed further, and the vet has no other alternatives.

The truth is periodontal disease does not happen overnight.  It develops over years and can be prevented if you care for your pets teeth on a regular basis.   The health of your pet is dependent on good dental care.  Left untreated, and ignored, the bacteria in your pets mouth can seep into their bloodstream and cause more internal damage to organs like the heart, kidneys, joints and lungs.  Many veterinarians have found older ailing dogs with kidney that were failing and discovered that the bacteria in the kidneys was identical to the bacteria in the pets gums. 

Look for Warning Signs

Help your pet to stop the spread of periodontal disease before it starts by understanding the warning signs and taking simple precautions for proper petcare.

Symptoms and Signs of Periodontal (Gum) Disease in Your Pet:

  • · tartar

  • · bad breath

  • · drooling

  • · loose teeth

  • · receding gum line

  • · avoiding drinking cold water

  • · swollen gums

  • · bleeding gums

  • · not playing with chew toys

  • · changes in eating habits

  • · pawing at their mouth

Should you observe any of these signs, it is advisable to visit your favorite veterinarian, so that periodontal disease can be prevented before it even starts or progresses futher.

When you visit your veterinarian, he can make suggestions, show you how to properly brush your pets, teeth, and make a recommendation as to whether petcare would involve cleaning your pet’s teeth. Many vets may suggest professional teeth cleaning prior to starting regular and routine home care. The procedure for petcare teeth cleaning is similar to the care done for humans. 

Good Dental Care is Important for Your Pet

Petcare and Your Veterinarian

The veterinarian will examine your dog or cat’s mouth, remove the tartar from the teeth, above and below the gum line.  If your vet finds that the gums are diseased, they may suggest to eliminate the bacteria by taking out the tissue that is affected to encourage improved dental health.  Your vet will polish your pets teeth with a paste that is designed to remove the coating of plaque and residue.  The vet usually anesthetizes the animal for their best comfort.  Although anesthesia is not what anyone wants to give their pet, it is really the best way for the vet to do a proper cleaning of the teeth and gums.  Prior to having your pet undergo the anesthesia, they will make sure your dog or cat is healthy and strong enough to withstand the procedure. 

Thanks to technology, today’s advancement in anesthetic products makes this a better and more pleasant event for your pet than it  used to be.  Many anesthetic products have your pet alert, and back to their usual selves shortly after the dental procedure has been completed.  It is a good idea to talk to your veterinarian to educate yourself on what they have to offer for your pets care and well being so that the procedure results in as pleasant and pain free a procedure as possible.  When you feel confident that your pet is in good hands you will feel better about dental petcare for your dog or cat.

Great Gift for the Holidays and Cleans Your Dogs Teeth


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    • Coolmon2009 profile image


      8 years ago from Texas, USA

      Good information on pet dental health. I will book mark this article.

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks Kashmir56,

      Taking care of your pets teeth is so important for their overall health. You are right, it is very expensive to have a vet clean your pets teeth. Not having to anethesize your dog or cat to have their teeth cleaned is the also a big reason to try to take care of it yourself.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great information on dental care for your pet. Pet health care can be very expensive so anything you can do yourself will help to save money.I give my dog soft treats that her teeth sink into which helps clean her teeth. Great thumbs up hub!!!


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