By Dr. Laura CarpenterVeterinarian

Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental disease (or periodontal disease) is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.

Common signs of dental disease include:

  • Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Changes in eating or chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face
  • Loose teeth
  • Depression

Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.

Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart.

We can also help show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup. A great product that we carry is called Oravet chews. It uses technology that was developed for people that stops plaque from being able to stick on your dog’s teeth and helps to remove the small amounts of plaque that could be there.

Schedule your pet’s dental exam today! to be sure your pet’s teeth and mouth are healthy, and learn how to keep it that way. Huffard Animal Hospital Dental Month runs for all of January and February. If your pet’s dental cleaning is done during our Dental Months, you will receive a 15% discount and a free home dental kit to keep those healthy smiles and fresh kisses lasting way past Valentine’s Day!

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