The best defense against gum disease is prevention. Sometimes, though, even the best efforts to avoid bacteria buildup in pets don’t work. In those instances, you want to treat infections and plaque buildup as soon as possible to avoid further health complications, which can be life threatening.
Good Oral Hygiene
Brushing is the cornerstone of good daily oral care. Daily chewing activities can also be effective in maintaining oral health. Oral hygiene kits for cats and dogs can be used to effectively clean bacteria off of teeth using enzymatic toothpaste, a finger cap to clean the tooth surface, and a soft-bristled toothbrush to get under the gum line. Since cavities are not a concern for dogs and cats, you don’t need to brush for a long stretch of time. A few seconds of brushing in circular motions along the outside of teeth should be effective for removing bacteria. This quick daily action can stave off the accumulation of plaque and tartar, precursors of periodontal disease.
Your pet may be calmer still if you associate tooth brushing with something that you do just before a walk or playtime. For cats, you can try to associate teeth brushing with lap time.
Feeding your pet dry food can promote better oral health because cats and dogs need to chew the food more, which produces more saliva, and saliva naturally works to rid your mouth of bacteria. Chew treats such as bully sticks, biscuit-type treats, and dental sticks can be beneficial as well. Look for large treats that ensure your pet really needs to do a lot of saliva-producing chewing.
Even if you do adhere to a strict brushing, chewing, and check up regiment, your pet could end up with plaque buildup and oral infections. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend that your pet undergoes a professional dental cleaning to treat the problem. This is usually a one-day outpatient procedure that requires your dog or cat to be placed under general anesthesia.
Extractions and Medication
Pets suffering from severe periodontal disease may need to have teeth extracted and will require more advanced treatments performed under general anesthesia. Antibiotics such as Clavamox for dogs or Metronidazole for dogs and cats may be administered to clear up any infections. Your pet may also need to take pain medication to manage discomfort following tooth removals or other procedures. Treatments and subsequent follow ups with your veterinarian to prevent further gum disease can, literally, save your pet’s life.
Treatment can also improve a pet’s mood and return dogs and cats to their old playful selves, which can be just as important as restoring their physical healthy.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.