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Poor dental hygiene can lead to plaque. Plaque leads to tartar. Tartar can lead to gum disease, which can quickly turn dangerous. Untreated gum disease can cause loose teeth and has even been linked to heart disease.
Cat and Dog Dentistry – Dental Disease in Cats and Dogs
Gum disease can be ugly and it can be dangerous.
But it is also one of the most common disease in cats and dogs. Periodontal disease (periodontitis) is an inflammation of some or all of a tooth’s supporting structures. It is caused by bacteria that are located on the teeth and surrounding tissues.
Signs of Dental Disease
One of the most common signs you may notice is bad breath. You can also raise your pets lip and look for red or swollen gums and teeth that are yellow or brown (plaque/tartar/scale siting on the teeth).
Other signs of severe dental disease can include poor appetite and weight loss. If your pet has scale on the teeth on one side but not the other, this is usually due to the pet no longer eating on the side with the scale and is usually due to tooth pain in one or more teeth and should be seen by us urgently.
Teeth may become loose with worsening periodontal disease, may form an abscess (sometimes seen as a draining sinus beneath the eye over the face) or may fall out from loss of supporting tissues. The link between dental disease and kidney/heart/liver disease has been well established in people and most likely will be the same in our pets, so clean teeth equals healthy pets.
Teeth Cleaning Can Prevent Gum Disease
Once your cat or dog is diagnosed with dental disease, the next step is to book them for a teeth cleaning to remove the plaque/treat any underlying periodontal disease. Teeth cleanings are performed under a general anesthetic and can take as little as 15-20 minutes or over an hour depending on the severity of the dental disease.
Click here to view our pricing guide on Dental treatments for your pet.
Pet Dental Care at Home
It is very important to brush your cat or dog’s teeth at home. This will help reduce the chances of your pet developing gum disease, but should not be the only measure you take.
Brushing will not remove tartar/scale already on your pet’s teeth. To help prevent gum disease, we recommend dry food twice a day, and your veterinarian will recommend the type of food.
Dog food to help prevent tartar
In addition to the benefits of dry food, there are further advances with the dry food by various companies that also help, such as the phosphate crystal coating that Eukanuba uses on their dry foods, which stops/reduces bacteria being able to make tartar/scale and the T/D dry food made by Hills, which is a fibrous food that does not shatter on impact and rubs the slime off teeth before it can become tartar/scale. Dental chews can also help keep teeth clean/slow tartar buildup.
Bones can be used to keep teeth clean, but only use large uncut bones. It is the chewing/gnawing at the bone that keeps teeth clean. And be careful not to let your dog eat bones. Dogs that eat bones eventually break teeth, which leads to costly tooth removal (costly) or a root canal to preserve the tooth (really expensive!).