If you suspect your pet has a dental problem, don’t wait until their annual exam to have your pet’s oral health checked. During an exam, the veterinarian will thoroughly examine your pet’s mouth, including the teeth, gums and oral cavity, and will inform you if a professional dental cleaning is recommended. Infections in your pet’s mouth can spread via the bloodstream to the rest of their body and overwhelm their immune system.
Possible signs of gingivitis and periodontal disease:
- Nothing – As part of their natural instinct – pets are very good at hiding weakness like pain
- Bad breath
- Withdrawn behavior
- Difficulty chewing/turning head, producing crumb of food around bowl
- Any facial swelling, especially under the eyes or chin
- Swollen, red, or bleeding gums
- Teeth have brownish-yellow tartar or calculus
- Receded gums
- Reluctance to eat or loss of appetite
So you want to start brushing your pet’s teeth…
Good for you, and good for your pet! It is never too early to start brushing your pet’s teeth. It is also never too late to care for your pet’s teeth.
If you have a young pet, start brushing when your pet is young. Be sure to use a pet toothbrush and toothpaste. Pet toothpaste is designed to be swallowed, unlike human toothpaste. Pet toothbrushes are softer than human brushes and won’t hurt the animal’s gums.
If you have an older pet that has not had its teeth brushed, start brushing after your pet’s mouth has had dental treatment. The mouth will then be healthy and pain-free. If there are painful areas in your pet’s mouth, the experience will be unpleasant.
Peridontal disease is present in 60-70% of all pets by age 3. Small dogs tend to have more disease even earlier. Do a little brushing every day until your pet is used to it, and doesn’t resist. Use a soft brush and circular motion. Remember to use a GENTLE touch. Brushing too hard is often why pets don’t cooperate. Use a circular motion. You want to angle the brush about 45 degrees to the gum line.Think of it as a gum massage for good gum health. Be patient! Keep the sessions short! Keep trying! Have fun and remember to reward your pet at the end!
Your veterinarian can demonstrate the proper brushing techniques for your pet, and advise you on what toothbrush and toothpaste to get for your pet. * Visit the American Veterinary Dental College website for additional tips on dental care for your pets.Take your pet to your veterinarian for a dental exam.
Schedule regular visits to your veterinarian.
It’s important to have your veterinarian monitor your pet’s dental health routine. See your veterinarian for the recommended check-ups to maintain your pet’s dental health.