By Dr. Beth Martin
Alright, so I want to start this blog off by getting everyone who has a dog or a cat to go lift up their lips and have a good look at their teeth! What do you see? Were they pearly white? Is tartar just starting to accumulate or were they so disgusting that you couldn’t bear to look?
Well no matter what they look like – there`s good news! The mouth is one of the primary places you as owners can directly contribute to positive changes that benefit the entire body. Acadia Veterinary Hospital is having our dental month in February- so we are offering free dental exams with our technicians! They can explain how to brush your pet’s teeth, explain what food and treats are best for oral health, and let you know if a dental prophy (cleaning) is needed for your pet.
I also wanted to talk about 3 signs that your pet needs a dental attention because, let’s face it, even though I asked you at the start of the blog to check your pet’s teeth- probably a few of you were not too keen to do that! So here’s some signs of dental disease and infection:
1. Bad breath: The medical term for this is ‘halitosis.’ Bad breath can be caused by a variety of factors, but dental disease and infection is the most common one. If you can smell your dog before you see them- it’s time for a dental consult!
2. Difficulty Eating: Dogs and cats are good at hiding their pain but if you look closely you might see some subtle changes that could indicate that your pet is painful with its mouth. Watch them while they eat- are they mainly chewing on one side? Are they eating soft food and treats readily but avoiding their hard kibble? Are they eating less than they used too?
3. Drooling and/or swollen, red and bleeding gums: These all can be signs of gingivitis and tooth infection. When the gums are in a constant state of inflammation, like in moderate to severe gingivitis, oral cavity bacteria can easily move into the bloodstream. This can cause a variety of negative effects elsewhere in the body and can lead to heart disease.
Please give us a call at Acadia Veterinary Hospital if you see any of those signs, or if you have any other concerns!