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“Dr. McMurry, we just love Smooches, but we hate when she licks our face - her breath STINKS!”
When Your Pet Has Bad Breath
Poor Smooches -- She just wants to show her love to her family members, but she is pushed to the side because of her breath. Does she need a new diet? Old toys replaced? Breath mints?
Unfortunately, the issue is often bigger than a temporary fix.
As I do Smooches’ exam, I notice her foul breath. When I examine her mouth, Smooches acts very uncomfortable- moving her face away, not letting me look. Smooches and I have become good friends as I have seen her for several years now and this is not like her. As I look further into her mouth, I can see it- the big T…..
Tartar on a Dog's Teeth & Periodontal Disease
Smooches has TARTAR... and lots of it. All of Smooches’ upper molars are covered in it. I notice some really red and swollen gums and one area that is bleeding. A couple of her front incisors are also loose. Smooches has periodontal disease.
The Dangers of Dental Disease In Your Pet
Dental disease is a very common issue in dogs and cats alike, often as early as the age of three particularly in small breed dogs. It is often associated with tarter & plaque build up on the teeth, redness and inflammation of the gums, malodorous breath, and will lead to mouth pain, loose teeth, abscesses, and tooth loss. Even worse, dental disease can cause other issues as well. Bacteria become trapped in the tartar and plaque. Those bacteria can cause many other issues throughout the body, but particularly the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Dental Disease in Pets: Prevention & Treatment
There are several ways that dental disease can be prevented and treated:
- Eating a dry kibble can help break up tartar as your pet eats.
- There are also special dental diets for dogs and cats that are at higher risk of developing dental disease in their lifetime.
- Daily tooth brushing is also extremely beneficial- just like with humans, daily brushing can help prevent excess bacteria in the mouth and can prevent the build up of tartar. It is best to use a veterinary formulated toothpaste.
- At some point, your pet will need professional dental care and it is far less painful and less expensive to intervene early as opposed to waiting for advanced dental disease. Your veterinarian is the best source of guidance on when it’s time to have your pet’s oral cleaning and evaluation performed.
Routine Dental Checkups for Pets
Often, most animals need to have a routine dental checkup. Like humans, who need to go to the dentist annually or semi-annually, pets need routine dental care as well. The pet is anesthetized for this procedure, and the mouth is fully assessed, much more in depth than can be performed while the animal is awake. Full mouth oral radiographs are performed, tartar is removed, and the teeth are polished. If major issues are found during the oral exam and x-rays, treatments or extractions can be performed at that time.
How Often Does My Pet Need Professional Dental Care?
The frequency of these dental procedures depends on the individual pet. Some patients need a dental cleaning/exam yearly, some semi-annually. More frequent professional cleanings result in less tooth loss and mouth pain.
Treating dental disease early can prevent major systemic disease, and improve many pets' quality of life.
Luckily, Smooches had a dental cleaning/exam performed and her teeth looked great underneath all of that tartar. Her mouth is no longer painful, and her owners are thrilled to be able to snuggle her closely now that her breath is no longer so smelly. Treating her dental disease improved her quality of life and the human animal bond between her and her family.
See the Difference Good Dental Care Makes!
And here's another one before:
February is Dental Health Month for pets. Help keep your pet's mouth in excellent condition... give us a call to set up a dental checkup today!