All About Those Teeth!

It’s all about those teeth, ’bout those teeth, and gums, please! It’s not quite Meghan Trainor, but it’s pretty relevant to February, especially for your pets. February is known as National Pet Dental Health Month to remind us of an area of pet care that many pet owners don’t know about. Dental health is as important for your pets as it is for you, so February really is all about those teeth.

The Importance of Pet Dental Health

Our pet’s teeth are vital to their overall health. Dental problems in and of themselves can cause pain, infection, and impairment when eating, but they can also cause, and be related to, a myriad of other health problems. Over the past several years, there has been an increase in awareness about the necessity of good pet oral care.

Signs That Your Pet Needs Dental Care

Pets can develop some of the same dental conditions their people do. They can experience:

  • Broken teeth
  • Fractured tooth roots
  • Infected teeth
  • Abscesses
  • Oral cysts or tumors
  • Periodontal disease

These conditions are as painful for your pet as they are for you. You may or may not be aware that they’re having dental difficulty, though, because our pets often hide their pain. Some signs that your pet may be experiencing dental difficulty are:

  • Bad breath
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums or teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Reduced appetite
  • Refusal to eat
  • Dropping food as they try to eat it
  • Drooling

Keeping Their Teeth Healthy

There are several things you can and should do regularly at home to help keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. Good pet dental care happens all year around, not just in February. To keep your pet smiling that big smile, you should:

  • Brush their teeth regularly (at least several times a week)
  • Use only toothpaste specifically made for pets
  • Get a toothbrush specifically designed for a cat or dog
  • Feed your pet a well-balanced diet appropriate for their species, size, and age

You can give your dog dental chews, too, but be sure to check with your veterinarian to see which chews are safe and not too hard. If they are, they may fracture a tooth.

In addition to regular care of your pet’s teeth at home, they should be examined at least once a year during your pet’s annual check-up.

If They Require More Involved Dental Care

During their check-up, your veterinarian may find that your pet would benefit from a dental cleaning, or that they need dental work to remove broken teeth, baby teeth that haven’t fallen out, or some other dental concern. It’s important to have your pet’s dental work completed. Ignoring it can cause oral bacteria to be absorbed into their bloodstream, which can cause severe damage to their heart, kidneys, and liver. A preventive dental cleaning may also mean that your pet will avoid more costly dental care in the future.

Homey Gnome Veterinary Clinic

Homey Gnome Veterinary Clinic in Oakdale, MN provides dental cleaning and care for your pet as well as a myriad of other veterinary services.  We welcome your pet (and you, of course) into our family. We can be reached by phone at 651-202-3388 or by email at [email protected]. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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