February is fast approaching and aside from Valentine’s Day and the rush to find someone to wine and dine, it’s also National Pet Dental Health Month. There are several dental issues that your pet can have if they are eating poor quality food, have a buildup of plaque, and don’t see the vet on a regular basis.
The most common dental problems are:
1: Periodontal Disease: a painful infection between the tooth and gum that can result in tooth loss. The infection can spread to the rest of the body and cause other serious problems. Signs of periodontal disease are bad breath, loose teeth, sneezing, and nasal discharge.
2: Gingivitis: this is an inflammation of the gum caused by an accumulation of tartar, plaque, and other bacteria. Signs are bleeding gums, red, swollen gums, and bad breath. It can be taken care of with regular brushing and giving treats that help scrape plaque and tartar off the teeth.
3: Halitosis: this is bad breath… really really bad breath. It’s the first sign of mouth problems and is caused by bacteria growing from food particles caught between the teeth or by a gum infection. Regular brushing and healthy snacks can help prevent this.
4: Swollen gums: gums will swell when there is a build up of tartar. Regular dental care and a good diet (no table scraps or foods that break down to sugars) can help prevent this.
5: Salivary cysts: if you aren’t sure what these cysts are, they resemble blisters. They are full of fluid and develop near the jaw. Often they require a visit to the vet to drain them and sometimes the damaged salivary gland needs to be removed.
6: Mouth tumors: these look like lumps in the gums. Some are malignant and have to be removed.
The best way to make sure your pet never has any of these painful problems is to keep them on a high quality diet, brush their teeth if they are ok with that, and regular vet visits. Preventing dental problems is cheaper and better for you and your pet.