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Caring for Your Pet’s Teeth

Did you know that February is Pet Dental Health Month? Quite a few of our furry patients have dental problems. Of course, Fido and Fluffy can’t call us to make their own appointments, so it’s up to you to watch for warning signs. A local Ellicott City, MD vet discusses pet dental care below.

Common Issues

Gum disease is very common in pets, just as it is with people. Dogs also sometimes get cracked or broken teeth. This often happens when Fido chews on or plays with hard objects. Overcrowding is another issue we see quite frequently, especially in smaller dogs. As for Fluffy, she is prone to developing tooth resorption and feline stomatitis, which are both very painful. Other common issues include abscesses, infections, and misalignments.

Symptoms

Bad breath is probably the most common sign of dental issues in pets. Other red flags include visible tartar buildup; bloody streaks on dishes and toys; swelling; shying; and drooling. Your pet may not feel very playful, and could act grumpy and/or withdrawn. You may also see some changes in your furry pal’s eating habits. For instance, your pet may dribble food out of their mouth, or chew on one side only. They may also take longer eating, avoid harder foods, or eat less than usual.

Treatment

Treatment for dental issues in pets can range from a simple cleaning to extractions or other procedures. If you notice any of the red flags we listed above, call your vet to make an appointment right away. Once your vet has examined your pet’s choppers and diagnosed the issue, you’ll be able to discuss specific treatment options.

Home Care

Home care is also very important! We recommend brushing your pet’s teeth daily. You don’t have to do their entire mouth every day: just do one quadrant at a time and keep rotating. Use products that are specifically made for pets, and work in lots of treats and praise. If your four-legged buddy isn’t having it, ask your vet for advice on other options. Dental flakes, oral rinses, and dental-formula treats and chews can all be beneficial. Also, make sure that your pet always has fresh water. If you have a dog, give him plenty of safe chew toys.

Please contact us, your Ellicott City, MD vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!

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