Why Your Pet Needs Dental Care
Most people see the dentist once or twice a year for regular cleaning, x-rays, and preventative care. We know that dental care is a staple of our wellness routine, but did you know that pets need dental care, too? Many pet owners aren't told just how important it is for them to take care of their four-legged friends' dental needs, and the truth is, pet dental care does far more for your dog or cat than you may realize.
Below, we'll go over the importance of dental pet care, and why the next time you go to schedule your next dentist appointment, you should schedule one for your pet as well.
What is Dental Pet Care?
Veterinary dentistry is similar to what we experience when we go to the dentist. It includes cleaning, filing, extractions, tooth repair and adjustments, and x-rays.
X-rays are key in pet dental care because many diseases can occur below the gum line and can only be seen when x-rayed. It's common practice for your pet to be put under anesthesia while getting their teeth cleaned, but rest assured that it's perfectly safe. Precautions are taken to make sure your pet will handle anesthesia well.
Why does your cat or dog need anesthesia for a teeth cleaning? It enables the vets to do the most thorough job. When humans go to the dentist, they understand why they're there and what to expect, but unfortunately, fur babies don't. This can lead them to be anxious or aggressive if they're not sedated.
Why Do Pets Need Dental Care, Too?
Taking care of your pets' dental health is part of taking care of their overall health too. Eighty percent of dogs and 70% of cats have periodontal disease by the time they're two years old. Periodontal disease is dangerous for pets; it can lead to inflammation and infection in the blood, which can infect your pet's organs, create holes in their mouths, and even lead to a broken jaw.
Regular pet dental care allows your vet to monitor any changes in their health, keep their mouths clean, and also prevent tooth loss and bad breath. It's recommended that you get routine dental pet care done once a year.
What Can Happen Without Pet Dental Care?
Ignoring your pet's dental care needs can lead to sickness, disease, and even death. When your pet's dental needs aren't cared for, the following common issues crop up:
- Mouth pain. mouth pain is harder to detect, and it can lead to a decreased appetite, drooling, or swelling and bleeding.
- Diabetes. Pets that have diabetes have a higher risk for dental disease, and that can in turn cause their diabetes to get worse. It's a scary cycle that can very quickly spiral out of control.
- Cardiovascular disease. Unchecked dental disease can lead to inflammation of your pet's heart and liver, which can lead to an early death.
- Compromised immune system. If your pet has dental disease, it can cause an immune system response. Unchecked, their immune systems become solely focused on their mouths, which doesn't allow them to fight off other illnesses and infections elsewhere in the body.
How to Find Affordable Pet Dental Care
One reason so many pet owners put off regular checkups for their pets is because of a preconceived notion that pet care is costly. But affordable pet care is available.
One way to keep costs at bay is to develop a regular brushing routine at home. This helps keep plaque and tarter down and can minimize gingivitis and other gum and mouth diseases. The cost of dental pet care will vary from clinic to clinic, but there are ways to minimize the impact on your wallet. You can sign up for pet insurance, look for promotional savings from your local vet, or ask about a payment or financing plan with your vet. At the end of the day, the cost of preventative care for your best friend is worth the few extra years it can add to their life.
You know how to take care of your cat or dog; give them lots of love, feed them a healthy diet, give them regular exercise, play with them, and now you know to add pet dental care to your routine. To schedule your pet's next teeth cleaning, contact our team at Forever Vets today!