Dog and Cat Dental Disease
by Dr. Savita Wadhwani, owner and veterinarian at Wells Branch Pet and Bird Clinic:
In dogs and cats dental disease is a real problem. They don’t brush their teeth every day. We would love our owners to brush their dog’s and cat’s teeth every day but look, that’s really difficult to do. And it really does take every day to make a big difference. In twenty one years that I’ve been doing this I’ve had maybe five or ten clients who have brushed their dog’s teeth every day. And you know what? Those dogs have no dental disease. And they come in when they’re older and I don’t have to clean their teeth. I don’t have to sedate them. I don’t recommend any dental care because the person is already doing it.
That’s not for everybody, because like I said, in twenty one years I’ve had five or ten that do that. It’s a difficult thing to get in the habit of doing, brushing your dog’s teeth. I do want you to do it as often as possible. But in dogs and cats what does happen is they have that tartar build up on their teeth. Bacteria in the mouth causes that tartar build up and that tartar build up now can affect the gums, it can cause infections at the level of the gums and the gums get inflamed and infected. That’s the dental disease. If we don’t do anything about that it gets worse and worse. The pet’s teeth get painful and loose but they still eat. You know people come in and say it doesn’t look like it’s painful because he’s still eating, but here I can wiggle this tooth and it’s all red. The gums are all red around it. And yet this person does not believe me that that’s painful because the dog’s still eating.
Well guess what. A dog really thinks on survival, and eating is very survival for him, so is he going to stop eating because it’s a little painful? What’s going to be worse? The pain of hunger or the pain of the tooth for the dog? You know what? The pain of hunger is pretty high up there so they’re going to eat and they’re going to live with that pain. We don’t want them to live with that pain. We want to handle that tooth so they’re not going to have to live with that pain. I don’t like that. So, they get the tartar build up, they get the inflamed gums. They come in to see me. If I see that I want to help them and I want to clean their teeth.
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