Pet owners know that their dog or cat is not just a furry companion around the house – it’s a member of the family! And just like your most beloved family members, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the health and wellness of your pets. Something you may not realize is that dogs and cats need regular dental check-ups, just like humans. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your pets’ teeth inspected, maybe now’s the time. Check out these five reasons you should schedule a dental appointment for your pet and then call your local veterinarian right away!
Dental Disease is No Joke
You know how much it hurts when you have a bad tooth? Imagine that same feeling, but you can’t tell anyone about it because you’re an animal. It’s estimated 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease by age three, leading to abscesses, loose teeth, and chronic pain. The last thing you want is to have to take your fur-baby to the animal hospital for a bad tooth. Regularly scheduled check-ups with your local veterinarian can keep your pet safer, longer.
You’ve Noticed Some Warning Signs
There are over 75 million pet dogs in the U.S.—more than in any other country. That’s a lot of doggy breath! But how tell the difference between regular dog or cat breath or a sign of periodontal disease? Your local vet can help, but you should also be alert for signs like:
- SUPER bad breath
- Blood from the mouth
- Decreased appetite or an outright refusal to eat
- Teeth coated in tartar
- Weird chewing or excessive drooling
- Broken or loose teeth
Periodontal Disease Can Strike Fast
As we mentioned before, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease by age three. That’s fairly young, even in dog and cat years! According to the AVMA, you should get your pet’s teeth checked at least once a year to check for early signs of periodontal disease. And as your dog or cat gets older, they need even more TLC! Vets suggest twice-yearly checkups for older pets, just to be on the safe side. Your local veterinarian should be able to perform routine dental maintenance on your animal, but you may also want to seek out a board-certified veterinary dentist for unique cases and veterinary services.
Vet Services Keep Owners Honest
Although your local veterinarian may have explained the importance of brushing at your last appointment, you might be among the 65% of pet owners who do not brush their pet’s teeth. Asking your local vet to inspect your dog or cat’s teeth the next time you go into the veterinary clinic will let them check any work you might be doing with your pet or keep you accountable for things you need to be doing in the future.
It’s Good to Have Backup
Did you know that you can reach 90% of the surface of a dog’s teeth just by brushing; flossing is not essential. Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth might be challenging at first, but if you’re patient and take the time to train them to be used to the toothbrush, you can help significantly reduce their risk of oral disease and dental problems in the future. Even with all that, however, it’s good to get an expert opinion. Regularly scheduled dental visits with your local veterinarian can help you as a pet owner feel secure that you’re doing the best thing for your pet!