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Responsible Pet care: Professional Teeth Cleaning for Dogs and Cats

dental care for catsYour dog or cat’s teeth need to be brushed daily in order for your pet to have good dental health.  A veterinarian can provide you with tooth paste and a tooth brush specifically designed for cleaning your pet’s teeth.  The tooth paste will be available in flavors preferred by your dog or cat – such as poultry flavor.  If you begin brushing while your pet is still quite young, he will find it acceptable and will allow you to do it daily.

However, you may be a very busy person and just do not have the time to do this cleaning on a daily basis.  If you do not clean your pet’s teeth yourself, your pet will probably need a professional dental treatment every year.  This type of treatment involves anesthesia, making it so your dog or cat is “asleep” during the procedure.  Your pet is put under while the vet takes x-rays, does an exam, performs the teeth cleaning much like the one you get at your dentist, and then polishes up the teeth.

There are indicators that your pet is in need of a professional cleaning.  They are:

  • Bad breath
  • Tartar and plaque that are visible on the teeth
  • Red, inflamed gums
  • Bleeding from the gums
  • Pet’s failure to eat
  • Drooling

If left untreated, the 80 percent of bacteria that live in the plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth will eventually travel through his entire body, possibly causing infection to his heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, joints and intestinal system.  Additionally, the gums and the bone below the gum line will be damaged.

There are four stages of dental disease that lead up to this worst-case scenario.

  1. First, the dog or cat develops Gingivitis.  This is evident when the gums are redder than usual, particularly around the gum line.
  2. The next stage is Early Periodontitis where the gums remain red and irritated and begin to swell.
  3. The third stage is Moderate Periodontitis where the gums are still red and swollen and begin to detach from the teeth.
  4. The fourth and final stage is Advanced Periodontitis, where the gums and bones are destroyed, teeth loosen, and bacteria spread throughout the body.

If you want to avoid the condition of your pet’s teeth advancing to any of these four stages, either brush the pet’s teeth daily or take him in for a professional cleaning as often as your veterinarian says is necessary.  In the long run, the procedures will pay off for you, since your dog and cat will be pain-free and have unobjectionable breath, and you will not have to worry about further health problems that poor dental health can contribute too.