Periodontal Disease in Dogs and CatsPeriodontal disease is a common clinical condition in both dogs and cats, but it is easily preventable. Evidence shows that over 80% of dogs and cats exhibit some level of periodontal disease by age three. This disease can be serious as studies have shown that bacteria from dental disease can possibly move into vital organs, causing heart and kidney disease. Therefore, taking good care of your pet's teeth is crucial to his overall health.
UNDERSTANDING THE DISEASESimilar to people, food particles and bacteria will accumulate along your pet's gums, causing tartar and plaque buildup on the teeth. If not taken care of properly, this can lead to gum inflammation and infection (gingivitis), tooth loss, dental disease, and possibly further health complications.
SYMPTOMSThe common signs of periodontal disease in dogs and cats include bad breath, red and swollen gums, loose teeth, irritability, drooling, and gums that bleed easily. Because it can often hurt to eat, pets may lose their appetite and eat less, resulting in weight loss.
TREATMENTThere is no specific cure for periodontal disease, so the goal of treatment is to control the infection and stop the progression of the disease. Treatment starts with removing the plaque from the teeth in order to determine the severity of the disease and the course of treatment. If the disease is in an early stage, treatment is focused on controlling plaque buildup. If the disease has progressed to a later stage, the next steps of treatment may include the complete cleaning of the gums or the removal of teeth. All options of treatment are considered invasive and painful, so prevention is very important.
PREVENTIONBecause periodontal disease is irreversible, prevention is key to protecting your pet's oral and overall health. Although dental care may seem like a big task, it doesn't have to be. Taking a few steps can make a big difference in your pet's oral health.
- Brush your pet's teeth on a regular basis, using a toothpaste specifically formulated for pets. For tips on how to correctly brush your pet's teeth, read Brushing Your Dog's or Cat's Teeth.
- Regularly bring your pet to the veterinarian to have his teeth and gums evaluated and cleaned. Your veterinarian will be able to identify potential problems and suggest how to best deal with the issues.
- Offer your pet treats and toys that benefit the teeth. Dental chews help fight plaque and tartar buildup by mechanically scrubbing it off the teeth.
- Along with veterinarian check-ups, you can also regularly evaluate your pet's oral health at home. Warning signs to look for include bumps or masses in the mouth; discolored, fractured, or missing teeth; bad breath; red or swollen gums; and pain or bleeding around the gums.
- There are also certain sprays, oral gels, and rinses that help fight plaque. There are even water additives that you can add to your pet's drinking water!
Although good dental care for your pet can seem like a big undertaking, your pet's well-being and health is worth the effort. Plus it will become easier once you have a routine in place!
If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.
-The Revival Education Team
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.