Smelly Breath: The Truth Behind the Odor

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Dental health is something that is often overlooked by pet owners. Many people wait until they notice bad dog breath, or their cat does not seem as eager to eat his favorite treats before they bring them in for a dental exam. Unfortunately, dental disease is not reversible, and in many of these cases a pet may need several teeth extracted to alleviate associated pain and infection.

By the age of two, up to 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will have some degree of dental disease; however, this can all be avoided by starting routine oral health care early.

Much like humans, the state of your pet’s teeth can greatly affect their quality of life. Left untreated, poor oral health can cause secondary infections, abscesses and negatively impact their overall health, ultimately shortening their life.

Preventative dental care is one of the easiest ways to prolong the life and health of your pet.

A dental cleaning procedure for your pet is very similar to what you might experience at your own dental appointment. The major difference for pets is they are placed under general anesthesia because it is the only way to gain full access to the mouth and achieve a thorough oral exam. During the procedure, full mouth dental radiographs (x-rays) are taken to assess each tooth and look for disease below the gum line that cannot be seen on visual inspection. All teeth are probed to assess for bone loss and a cancer screen is performed, looking for any nodules or masses that may be in the mouth. Your pet will also have their teeth scaled and polished in the same way your dental hygienist cleans your teeth. If significantly diseased teeth are found, Dr. Hill or Dr. Turick will likely recommend removing those teeth as they are painful for your pet and may lead to other health concerns. Ideally, a routine dental cleaning should be performed on your pet annually to keep them healthy and free from dental pain.

Taking care of your pet’s teeth does not have to be overwhelming or scary. There are many products on the market now that can be used in conjunction with regular dental cleanings performed by the veterinarians at Cane Bay Veterinary Clinic. There are water additives, dental treats, chews and even pet toothpaste and toothbrushes! Dental disease should not be something we concern ourselves with when we notice a problem, but rather something we proactively strive to prevent.

If your pet’s teeth need attention in the Summerville, SC area call us for an appointment today.