Why Pet Dental Health Care is Important

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 | 10:57 am

Dental health care for your pets is important for the same reason as it is in humans because the health of the teeth and gums can affect the rest of the body as well as being locally uncomfortable, says Dr. Dana Bliefer of Pasadena’s Rose City Veterinary.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, so it’s a great time to think carefully about Fido’s or Fluffy’s dental health.

Dogs and cats in general are so stoic in nature, Dr. Bliefer says, that it is not until dental problems become very serious that owners may notice them. Even then, the dental problem is only noticed in terms of the pet not eating as well as they used to.

Picture what will happen to your teeth if you don’t brush them daily. The same consequence will happen to your pets. Bad breath and stained teeth are unappealing, but many pet owners are not aware that these may be symptoms of serious gum disease. Unless you are regularly providing some form of dental care for your pet, you are neglecting an important factor in their overall health.

The good news is, for dogs are not as prone to cavities as human beings are. However, it is not true that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than humans and our furry friends can also develop tartar, plaque buildup and gingivitis.

As with humans, these canine dental problems can actually lead to life-threatening infections and issues including heart, liver, and kidney disease.

Dr. Bliefer adds, “It is probably the single most common problem that we see in dogs and cats; it’s periodontal disease. So it’s something that people say, ‘Oh, well. My dog is still eating fine. Okay, well maybe his breath isn’t great but dogs don’t have bad breath.’ That’s not always the case. A bad breath is not normal in a dog or a cat and is often a sign of dental disease and periodontal disease. And, 60% to 70% of dogs have some form of dental disease.”

A responsible pet owner must insure the overall health of their pets thru routine checking of teeth, gums and oral cavity to prevent bacteria from invading the body the blood stream by gaining entrance into the oral lesions. This is called bacteremia.

If the bacteria get a chance to settle and reproduce in the lining of the heart or heart valves, a serious condition may result called bacterial endocarditis. Kidney damage and joint problems are a common sequel to bacterial invasion via the unhealthy oral cavity.

So how do you care for your pets dental health? The most important thing is to regularly check your pet’s mouth. If the gums appear red or inflamed, if there’s a foul odour, if you see pus at the gum line or broken teeth – see your veterinarian right away. He or she will assess the problem and formulate a treatment plan.

The longer term solution is to look after your pet’s teeth with regular brushing and checking – just like you do with your own, Dr. Bliefer says.

For more information or to schedule a dental care appointment for your pet, please visit http://www.rosecityvets.com/ or call (626) 796-8387. Rose City Veterinary is located in East Pasadena at 2695 E Foothill Blvd.

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