Not only is February for sharing Valentine cards and gifts with those we love, it’s also the time of year to pay attention to the dental health of our beloved pets. As this month is National Pet Dental Health Month, it’s time to see if your dog, cat or other pets have dental health as good as that provided by the dentists in Hillsdale Portland at Southwest Portland Dental.
The Importance of Dental Care for Pets
Like humans, pets use their gums and teeth for eating, chewing, drinking and even “speaking.” If pets’ teeth are neglected, they can develop periodontal disease just like their owners can.
Periodontal disease – also known as gum disease – occurs when there’s a significant plaque build up where the teeth meet gum tissue. When not removed, the plaque hardens and turns into tartar, which needs to be professionally cleaned away. If the tartar remains, gum tissue becomes swollen and red, with a tendency to bleed. The teeth begin to separate from the gum tissue, forming pockets where even more bacteria can gather.
This process is as painful for pets as for humans, and can also lead to serious complications that include heart, kidney and respiratory diseases.
Dental Care Prevents Periodontal Disease in Pets
However, periodontal disease in pets – and in people – is preventable with good dental care. Whether you have just gotten a new pet or your dog or cat has been part of your family for several years, it’s essential to take some time to evaluate his or her dental health.
The progression of periodontal disease in pets is easy to spot. The symptoms include:
- Unwillingness to eat or play
- Pawing at the snout
- Breath that is particularly and consistently bad
- Brown teeth
- Gums that are swollen or red
Whether or not these symptoms have appeared, it’s vital to address the dental health of your pet with your veterinarian.
Vets Offer Dental Health Tips
While dentists don’t treat dogs in their offices, veterinarians offer valuable dental health services and tips to pets and their owners. When scheduling an appointment for your pet, be clear that you’d like to speak to the vet specifically about how to take care of your pet’s teeth.
During the appointment, the vet will closely examine your pet’s oral health and make any recommendations for treatment as necessary. This could range from a deep cleaning of your dog’s teeth to simply showing you how to maintain good oral health for your pet at home. Like humans, pets have toothbrushes and toothpastes made specifically for them – your vet can recommend the best dental health tools for your dog or cat.
SW Portland dentists Dr. Jarvis, Dr. Goldwyn and their team encourage all members of the family to maintain good dental health! Celebrate your pet this month with a visit to the vet, then make yourself an appointment at Southwest Portland Dental. Call us at 503-244-8112 for an appointment!