February is Dental Health Awareness Month, celebrated Nationally and here at the Animal Hospital of High Park!
BAD BREATH!…It’s often one of the first and most offensive signs of dental health problems that pet owners notice while at home with our cuddly, furry friends. Our pets want to get up close and personal with us, and give us kisses. UGHH!
Bad breath is not just unpleasant, it’s indicative of bacteria buildup in the mouth. It’s just ONE of the signs of oral disease. Left untreated, oral disease will continue to progress into a more severe infection; causing pain, reluctance to eat, and tooth loss. The infection may also spread to the bones and bloodstream and may compromise major organs like; the heart, liver and kidneys.
Other signs of dental health issues to watch out for include:
Reluctance to eat, especially hard kibble
Swollen, red, bleeding gums
Blood on chew toys
Plaque and tartar build up – (looks like yellow/brown crust)
Oral masses and swellings
Fortunately, dental disease is treatable. Our hospital offers full dentistry and dental surgery services under general anesthesia to get your pet’s mouth in tip top condition.
Once clean and fresh, your pet’s mouth and health can be maintained by following 3 simple steps:
1. Daily tooth brushing
2. Feeding a nutritious dental diet that is recommended by your pet’s health care team
3. Regular dental check ups
If you pet gives your trouble with either tooth brushing, or not loving a dental diet, there are other tips and tricks we can try to give you, such as oral rinses or dental treats. In the end, there is no substitute for tooth brushing – treats and rinses are a helpful addition, but not a main component of home dental health care.
Make a habit of checking your pet’s mouth and teeth regularly, while brushing. Not only will you become more familiar with the appearance and any changes in your pet’s mouth, but your pet will also become more comfortable with the process.