Can you imagine if you never brushed your teeth? Not only would your breath clear a room in an instant, but you’d also be putting yourself at risk for dental diseases and teeth loss. Well, although many owners don’t think about it, the same goes for your beloved pet! Oral hygiene is incredibly important for the overall health of your dog or cat, and as we all know, a healthy pet is a happy pet. Find out more about the importance of pet dental care below, and if you’d like to schedule a cleaning or have any questions about animal care in Tulsa then don’t hesitate to contact Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital today!

Importance

Unlike us, your furry friend is unable to place a toothbrush in their paw and scrub their pearly whites, so they rely on you to give them a helping hand! While fresher breath is definitely one of the perks of keeping up with your pet’s dental hygiene, it’s not the most important reason to stay on top of it. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats at the age of two to three have some form of periodontal disease, AKA gum disease. This is a pretty staggering number and the chances are even higher the older they get and if their oral health is never taken seriously. While some symptoms of gum disease are minor, others can cause serious pain or discomfort for your pet.

Symptoms

The good news is that many symptoms are easily seen (or smelt), letting you know that your pet requires some dental care. The most common symptoms of periodontal disease or other problems in their mouth include:

  • Chipped or loose teeth
  • Refusal or hesitation to eat
  • Pain and irritation of the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding
  • Drooling or odd chewing
  • Swelling

If you witness any of the above, then it’s time to book an appointment to see one of the veterinarians at our animal hospital. Periodontal disease can cause issues in your pet beyond just their mouth. If their problems go untreated, they could experience issues with their heart, liver, and kidney as well. Preventative care is the top defense against gum disease. We recommend bringing your pet in at least once a year for a cleaning (twice a year if they’re older) as well as a general examination so that our veterinarians can check for any problems that might not be easy to spot. While we will provide the best and most comprehensive animal care in Tulsa, there are a few things you can do at home that can help keep your dog’s or cat’s mouth healthy.

Helpful Tips

We know how important the health and happiness of your pet is to you, so if you’d like to take extra care of their mouth, then we’ve got a few recommendations of what to do aside from their annual check-ups.

  • Brushing – That’s right, you can brush your dog or cat’s teeth! But don’t go grab your spare toothbrush and your tube of toothpaste. Human toothpaste could make them sick (afterall, they don’t know that they’re supposed to spit it out) and the toothbrush won’t be able to get into the nooks and crannies to really clean their teeth. There is actually toothpaste that is specifically meant for pets as well as brushes that can fit right on your finger. Just ask one of our veterinarians and they’ll be able to point you the right way or provide you with what you need! Although daily brushing is recommended, three to four times a week will do wonders for your friends dental hygiene.
  • Healthy Nutrition – While your animal might not be the pickiest eater, they rely on you to provide them with food that is nutritious and good for their overall health, including their teeth. If your pet is already experiencing dental problems, our nutrition experts will be able to provide you with a dental diet that will help significantly.
  • Toys and Treats – There are countless toys and treats available these days that are specifically made to help prevent plaque buildup and help with their breath! Make sure you ask your veterinarian which product works best and is the best fit for your cat or dog.

Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital

At Southern Hills Veterinary Hospital, we treat each pet that we see as if they were a member of our own family. Whether you’re bringing them in for an annual cleaning or preventative care, or for any of our other veterinary services, you can have the peace of mind that they’re receiving the best animal care in Tulsa. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we’re always ready to help! Or go ahead and request an appointment online and we’ll be ready to greet you and your best friend!