Gum disease or Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases your cat or dog will contract. However, it is also one of the easiest to prevent once the causes are understood and the right preventative measures are followed.
The Causes of Gum Disease
Just like humans, the teeth and gums of dogs and cats require regular cleaning. It is sometimes sufficient to ensure you give your dog or cat a chew specifically designed to promote the cleaning of teeth, strengthening of the gums and reduction in tartar such as Greenies Dental treats for example. However, if you do nothing to help promote the oral health of your pet, dog food or cat food deposits, plaque build -up and eventual tooth decay, will lead to tooth loss.
The Signs of Gum Disease
The first indication that your pet has gum disease will probably be bad breath and although the breath of your pet will vary depending on what they have eaten, a consistent offensive odor from your pet’s mouth should be taken very seriously. Not all instances of bad breath is caused by gum disease some types of serious illness such as diabetes can cause your pet to have bad breath, so always check with your veterinarian to get a firm diagnosis. Another sign that your pet may have gum disease is a change in eating habits, are they starting to favor just one side when chewing, is there a reluctance to eat hard foods; all these things need to be investigated. Inflamed or bleeding gums, and unexplained tooth loss is a final indicator that gum disease is prevalent in your pet and action must be taken.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Any preventative measures you intend to take are best put in place whilst your pet is still young. Vets now recommend that you brush your pet’s teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste specially made for cats or dogs. Starting to brush the teeth of an adult dog or cat will probably be met with some resistance so you will need to be persistent, yet patient. Do not be tempted to use human toothpaste to clean your pets teeth as they will inevitably swallow it and it can make them ill.
Brushing your pet’s teeth after meals, and also using chews like the Greenies Dental Treats will go a long way to preventing your pet from developing gum disease. You may also want to consider looking into the diet to ensure there are no corrosive ingredients you may not previously have been aware of.
Treatment of Gum Disease
If gum disease is suspected your vet will take an x-ray of your pet’s mouth to ascertain the level of disease and what form the treatment should take. Under anesthetic, your pet will have their teeth cleaned, decaying and loose teeth removed and probably given a course of antibiotic to prevent infection. After which it will be down to you, the owner, to ensure that an oral hygiene routine is put in place to prevent a re-occurrence.
The remedy for gum disease can be very traumatic for your pet; preventing the onset in the first place may not be the easiest thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do.
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