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Do You Know the Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease in Your Pet?

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Jessie, the dog who gets routine dental check-ups with her vet:

Do you know what the most frequently diagnosed health problem is for pets?  Oral disease!  By age three, nearly 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will begin to show signs of dental problems.  For smaller dogs, periodontal disease is a very common problem.  In fact, our Yorkie-Poo buddy, Bolt, recently visited the veterinarian and was told that he needs a thorough cleaning of his teeth and gums before decay and serious issues set in.  He could potentially lose all of his teeth and develop other health problems in his cute little body.

How does oral disease begin in pets? It all starts with bacteria.  Saliva and food particles lodge between the teeth and gums, causing a build-up of plaque.  Eventually, that plaque will turn to tartar.  When plaque and tartar build up over time, that leads to periodontal disease which affects the tissues and structures supporting the teeth.  If this is not treated, your pet may endure oral pain, dysfunction, loss of teeth, and systemic problems.  Organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys can be affected. It’s not a pretty picture.

There are certain warning signs of periodontal disease in your pet.  You may notice persistent bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, he may paw at his face and mouth, and he may appear depressed.

To prevent oral disease in your pet, make sure he is seen routinely by a veterinarian, and make sure each exam includes a dental exam.  Practice a regular dental care program at home for your pet.  This may include brushing his teeth with toothpaste especially formulated for pets.  Please do not use toothpaste meant for humans, as it can cause an upset stomach in your pet.  Ask your vet about pet foods that are especially formulated to prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar.

Remember!  A true pet lover knows pets can truly smile….and we want to see them flash those beautiful teeth and healthy smiles every day!

(Thanks to for this great information! Thanks to Bolt for keeping his teeth clean and his breath fresher now….it was getting pretty rank in here with that stinky mouth!  He is well on his way to better dental health!)


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