Don’t ignore your pet’s bad breath! Dental hygiene is often the cause of stinky breath, and it may indicate other important problems with your pet’s health. We understand how easy it is to miss. Many of the problems that stem from poor hygiene occur where you can’t see them – below your pet’s gum line.
The first line of defense is always home care. But while some animals (especially dogs) tolerate their owners handling their mouths and brushing their teeth, most (especially cats) will struggle or act out. That can always make oral care difficult at best, and ineffective at worst.
The best way to ensure your pet’s oral health is to have regular cleanings at our office. Discuss how often you ought to come in as well as a home hygiene regimen with your vet. This will also prevent dental issues from progressing to larger (and potentially deadly) internal issues, such as dysfunction or disease in the heart, kidneys, liver, or lungs.
In the wild, hiding pain, illness, or other weaknesses are survival instincts. Many times, your pet will have the same instincts, even in the safety and comfort of your loving home, so always keep an eye on your pet’s eating habits and behaviors. Recognizing the difference between normal changes in mood and red flags can be difficult sometimes.
What you interpret as a persistent grumpiness may actually be a sign that your pet is in pain.
New irritability, shying away from being touched (especially on the face and around the mouth or throat), sluggishness, loss of appetite or difficulty eating, and lethargy are all behavioral signs which may indicate illness.
However, if you note any of the following physical changes, contact your vet immediately:
- Red and swollen gums
- Bleeding gums, especially when eating or when having teeth brushed
- Swelling around the mouth
- Oral abscesses
- Abnormal chewing
- Loose or missing teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Crusted build up at the edge of the gums
- Persistent bad or fetid breath
- Excessive drooling
- Weight loss
Remember, preventing oral infections and disease will help your pet live a longer, healthier life. Furthermore, caring for your pet with regular cleanings now will save you money later. In 2013, VPI Pet Insurance priced the cost of treatment for dental diseases at more than $530 on average. Our prices for regular cleanings are much less than that!