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National Pet Dental Awareness Month


Although it's almost over, it's never too late to take charge and care for your pet's teeth. Many veterinary hospitals participate in National Dental Awareness Month and some even offer discounts or other promotions. February may be the National month to promote dental care it is not the only month you should think about your pet's teeth.

Reasons pet owners wait:

Expense is the main reason pet owners wait to schedule dental procedures for their pets. But there are others too:
  • Owners are not aware that their pet has dental disease
  • Prioritizing
  • Time constraints
Signs of Dental Disease include:

• Foul breath

• Drooling

• Chewing food on only one side of the mouth

• Pawing at mouth and/or rubbing face on floor or carpet

• Trying to bite when you touch around face (sign of pain)

• Always acting hungry (because they are unable to eat with bad teeth)

• Not wanting to eat (hurts to eat)

There are four stages of gum disease. Which do you think your pet has?

1. Stage 1- presents with reddened gingival tissues. This is the initial stage. Bad breath is one of the first signs.

2. Stage II- presents as the early stage of gum disease. Signs include moderate reddening at the gingival margin, edema, and plaque. Most animals are between the ages of one and four. Cats sometimes are affected later. With scaling, polishing and home care, this stage is usually curable.

3. Stage III- presents Established Periodontal Disease. This stage appears as edema, inflammation and the beginning of pocket formation. This marks the change from gingivitis which is reversible with treatment to periodontitis which is controllable with therapy, but not curable.

4. Stage IV- appears as severe inflammation (bleeding on contact), deep pockets, gum recession, bone loss, pustular discharge, and tooth mobility. The severe inflammation and pain in some cases causes the animals to rub their face, drop food while eating, and drool excessively. Although treatable, stage IV is not curable.

It is thought that diet can play a role in developing dental disease.

Harder foods tend to decrease the rate of plaque deposit in comparison to wet food. This is not always true though. Heredity can play a role on which breeds of animals develop dental disease at a faster rate.

Hard bones can be harmful. Chewing on some bones can break teeth and cut into the gum tissue. Cow hooves, deer antlers, and other very hard products, can create fractures that require a root canal or extraction. This isn't always the case, but it does happen. 
Dental care does not end after a dental procedure. Specific dental programs are outlined individually by the veterinarian for each patient. 
See our list of veterinarians and call to schedule your pet's examination with them. During your pet's exam, they will be able to customize a treatment plan for your pet's dental needs. 

Thank you to Dr. Marc Schmidt, owner of Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic; and his clients for allowing us authorized use of the photos in this article. These photos may not be copied or shared for use. 

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