February is Pet Dental Health Month! Dental care is just as important for pets as it is for people, but is unfortunately often overlooked. Fido can’t tell you if his teeth hurt, and he can’t exactly brush or floss, so it’s up to you to watch for warning signs. A Spring Hill, TN vet offers some advice on this below.
Gum disease is very common in both people and pups. Over 3/4 of dogs over age three are afflicted. Gum disease has been connected to some major medical problems, such as heart disease, and can cause tooth shifting and loss.
Misalignments in dogs isn’t really a cosmetic concern. Fido is still adorable even if his ‘smile’ is crooked! However, misalignments can cause problems with chewing and eating. (In case you were wondering, doggy braces do exist, though they aren’t right for every pooch.)
Fido is very playful, which is of course adorable. However, keep in mind that dogs play with their mouths. Over-enthusiastic pooches can easily crack or chip their teeth on hard toys or sticks. Pups that engage in pica, which is the term for eating things that aren’t supposed to be food, can also damage their teeth.
Overcrowding is something we often see in small breeds. Pint-sized pups tend to have very little mouths, so sometimes there just isn’t enough room for the 42 teeth most adult dogs have.
If you’ve ever had an abcess, you know how painful they can be. They can also be very dangerous, as infections that close to the brain can be deadly. Swelling is one clue to look for. Your furry buddy may also shy away from having his face touched.
Be sure to have your canine pal’s teeth checked regularly. This should start around the time your pooch is about a year old. At that point, Fido should have all of his adult teeth. You’ll also want to watch for signs of dental issues. These include bad breath, excessive drool, swelling, tartar buildup, and bleeding gums, which may result in bloody smears on your pet’s toys or dishes. There are also a few behavioral clues, such as grumpiness, withdrawal, and reduced interest in play. Call your vet if you notice any of these.
As your Spring Hill, TN pet hospital, we’re here to help. Contact us anytime!