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February is Pet Dental Health Month

Pet dental care is just as important as other forms of veterinary treatment, but did you know that only one in 10 pet owners will take the time to care for their pet’s dental health. When you consider that a very high percentage of adult cats and dogs suffer from a form of periodontal disease, it’s important to learn about pet oral care and how you can prevent disease in your pet. 

Just like your own teeth, without proper cleaning of your pet's teeth, food and bacteria will collect along the gum line, creating plaque. Plaque combined with saliva creates tartar. Over time the tartar will build up and if it's not removed it will begin to affect the gums. The gums become red, inflamed and sensitive, which is called gingivitis - the early stages of periodontal disease.

Without treatment, the condition of the gums will continue to worsen, and they’ll begin to recede and separate from the tooth, creating 'pockets' where more food and bacteria will sit. Without veterinary treatment, that bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause problems with the kidneys, liver and heart. 

Some common factors

There are many factors that contribute to periodontal disease and other oral health issues. The most common factor is lack of oral care, as dental health care is often missed by pet owners.

Some other factors include

Age: older pets are more susceptible

Diet:  dry kibble and chew toys can aid in the removal of plaque

-Breed: - smaller dogs with smaller mouths can have poor teeth alignment, hindering the ability to clean the teeth properly 

Signs to watch for
If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, it may be indicative of oral disease, but be sure to check with your veterinarian first. A veterinarian will assess your pet’s teeth and the condition of their gums.

-drooling

-bad breath

-pawing at the mouth

-bleeding gums

-loose teeth

-loss of appetite

-pus around the tooth

-bone loss

-difficulty eating/chewing

-infection

-irritability or depression 

 

Preventative care

Brushing your pet's teeth is the first step to a healthy dental regime. It's recommended to start as early as 8 weeks old, using a finger or a finger-brush to help them get used to the feeling. Flavoured toothpastes are also available to make it more enjoyable for your pet. 

As they grow, it's important to increase the size of the brush accordingly. Sticking to a daily brushing regimen is key as tartar build-up begins 6-8 hours after eating. 

Annual dental exams and vet cleaning are advised as this will help optimize your pet's dental health!

For more information about dental health and Petsecure pet insurance's dental coverage, visit: www.petsecure.com

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