February is Pet Dental Month!

Feb 3, 2015 @ 07:19 PM — by Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital

Great news! Our discounted dental package was so popular last year that our laboratory and vendors have agreed to help us continue this offer! Since few pets allow brushing at home, regular professional care is important to avoid tartar buildup, gum disease, and infection, which can spread bacteria throughout the body to organs such as the liver, heart and kidneys with potentially fatal results. We can help your pet avoid the pain and dangers of dental disease with ultrasonic cleaning and treatments as needed. This article will show you some of the things our doctors look for when examining your pet’s mouth and teeth. 

If you lift up the lips of your dog or cat, you can look at their gums. They should be pink in color, but not red, white, yellow or blue. There may be some dark pigmentation, which is normal, but if you are uncertain or anything looks different, see your veterinarian. The first signs of periodontal disease are red and/or swollen gums. If the condition worsens, your pet’s gums will recede and, without treatment, the teeth will loosen and fall out. As always, prevention and early detection give your pet the best chance for a healthy outcome.

Next, if you look at the teeth, they should be white, clean and smooth. Broken, cracked, or pitted teeth can be painful, and should be treated by a veterinarian immediately. Sometimes your veterinarian will take dental x-rays to determine the severity of a problem, or to find problems not visible to the eye. Pets accumulate tartar at different rates. Just like people, there are those that need cleanings often, while others may need cleaning every few years. While some factors that affect tartar buildup can be controlled, others can’t.

What can you do? Bring your pet to your veterinarian for regular examinations, but also observe any changes in your pet’s mouth or behavior in between visits. Eating dry food may help your pet accumulate less tartar, but if your pet starts gulping his food to avoid chewing or starts chewing on one side, this may indicate pain. If your pet’s breath smells abnormally foul, this can also indicate dental disease. Alert your veterinarian to any excessive drooling or lumps in the mouth. Your veterinarian may recommend brushing your pet’s teeth if he will tolerate it, and will recommend the dental care plan and products for your pet’s individual needs. Please call us today to schedule a physical exam, and take advantage of our discounted dental package if your pet is a candidate.

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