It can be easy to overlook your pet’s oral health, but pets can develop dental problems over time. Your pet should have their teeth and gums checked out at least once a year by your veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ to make sure they’re in good oral health and that no issues are developing.
However, there are some issues that, if you notice them, should cause you to call up your vet and schedule an appointment sooner to have your pet’s mouth checked out. Examples of these issues include unusually bad breath, loose or broken teeth, teeth that are covered in tartar or are discolored, frequent drooling, abnormal chewing, pain around the mouth, bleeding from the mouth, reduced appetite or swelling around the mouth.
You might also begin to notice changes in your pet’s behavior. Some pets will get irritable, some will get lethargic. Either of these developments, especially when combined with any of the symptoms listed above, could be signs that your pet is dealing with dental problems that you should have checked out as soon as possible. And it’s a good idea to avoid trying to do a thorough check of your pet’s mouth yourself. A pet that is in pain at the mouth could bite if you try to poke around too much, even if your pet has never been a biter before.
What causes dental problems in pets?
Pets can develop many of the same dental problems humans do, including infections, abscesses, periodontal disease, broken teeth, palate defects, misalignment and cysts.
For cats and dogs, easily the most common issue is periodontal disease. By the time your pet is three years old, it’s actually likely they will already display some signs of early stages of periodontal disease, which will get worse over time if preventative methods aren’t taken immediately. This early detection is crucial, because the longer the disease advances without being checked, the more problems and pain it can create for the pet. As the disease advances, it won’t just affect the mouth—it could also affect the heart, kidney and liver.
Periodontal disease starts with a buildup of tartar. When it’s above the gum line, the tartar can be removed relatively easily, but if it’s below the gum line, it can cause some significant damage and potentially lead to disease and infection. Dental cleanings can help to prevent this from becoming an issue, and a vet may prescribe dental x-rays to determine the severity of the condition.
If you stay on top of your pet’s regular veterinary appointments, then you should have these dental checkups built into the routine. A veterinarian will check all aspects of your pet’s health, including oral health, and look for any problems or issues that might have formed since your last visit. But of course, if you’re concerned there’s a problem, you should schedule an appointment sooner.
For more information about dental care for pets, or to schedule an appointment with a veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, reach out to Newkirk Family Veterinarians today.