When taking your pet in for a periodic checkup, don’t forget about his teeth.
Dogs and cats are prone to the same dental issues as humans, so a checkup by your veterinarian can uncover issues like decay, periodontal disease and broken teeth, that, left unchecked, can result in more serious health problems. Dental problems, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, can include:
- broken teeth and roots
- periodontal disease
- abscesses or infected teeth
- cysts or tumors in the mouth
- malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
- broken (fractured) jaw
- palate defects (such as cleft palate)
The American Veterinary Dental College cautions pet owners to look for the following symptoms of dental disease in dogs and cats:
- Bad breath
- Loose, discolored or tartar-covered teeth
- Your pet pulling away from you when you touch his mouth
- Drooling and dropping food
- Loss of appetite or unexpected weight loss
Early detection is key, says the AVMA. Left unchecked, periodontal disease can damage the kidneys, liver and heart.
You can take an active daily part in preventing dental disease (and save your pet from pain, possible tooth loss and declining health, in the long run) by applying the same preventive measures you use to protect your own teeth, such as removal of plaque and tartar that form on teeth. There are products available made especially for pet dental health. In fact, the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), which is an entity of the American Veterinary Dental College, awards its Seal of Acceptance to products that successfully meet pre-set criteria for controlling plaque in cats and dogs.
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