Periodontal disease is the Number 1 enemy of pet dental care. 80% of all dogs and cats suffer from this pathology. It’s an infectious disease caused by accumulated bacterial plaque that causes inflammation of the gums, tartar and tooth loss. Both bacteria and their toxins can enter the bloodstream and affect vital organs like lungs, heart, kidneys and liver, putting your pet’s life at stake.
Many owners won’t notice any anomaly until the disease is well advanced. So it’s most important that you know what to look out for:
- Bad breath – it’s one of the most evident signs that your pet’s health is at stake. It’s a sign that infection has set it and it really bothers others due to the foul smell.
- Presence of tartar – tartar is bacterial plaque that has been calcified by saliva. It turns the surface of teeth rugged which then makes plaque deposition easier, turning into a vicious circle. It’s important that you know that sheer quantity of tartar doesn’t determine the severity of the disease. Take action as soon as you detect a problem.
- Excessive Saliva production
- Some changes in the gums – inflamed gums
- Difficulty eating
- Spreading food on the floor – this behaviour shows difficulty in gripping, that can be associated with pain
- Teeth mobility – the gum stands out from the tooth creating a periodontal pocket which allows bacteria to invade the periodontal ligament
- Cats stick their tongue out and dogs will rub their face
- Mandibular tremors when touched
With these basic notions, you are able to observe your pet’s oral cavity and check for any signs of alarm. In case you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian so that your pet initiates proper treatment as soon as possible. Use the Petable app to remind you of routine checkups or followups that your pet may need. This way you’ll never forget.
And because ‘better safe than sorry’, prevention is key in oral health as in most cases, when it comes to health. Prevention in periodontal disease consists in:
- Hygiene of the mouth, including brushing teeth
- Choosing kibble over wet food, to promote an abrasive cleaning effect on teeth
- Use chewable dental bars as a complement to brushing or as a substitute when brushing is difficult.
Pets with healthy smiles make for happy owners! With Petable, you can remember and control all events related to your pet’s dental health. 🙂
Author: Inês Domingos, DVM