The majority of older pets have at least one health challenge. Some are simply age-related, such as arthritis or vision impairment, and there are many ways to help them attain comfort and safety.
Other medical problems are directly related to a pet’s day-to-day routine. For example, poor diet and lack of exercise may result in weight gain or diabetes. Similarly, inadequate attention to their teeth and gums can lead to periodontal disease. In fact, maintaining excellent senior pet dental health can positively impact their overall health.
A Strong Foundation
One of the best things that pet owners can do for their pets is get them used to having their teeth brushed. Over time, most of them enjoy the experience of brushing and even look forward to it.
Brushing a pet’s teeth can start as early in a pet’s life as possible (the younger the better, but all pets, regardless of age, benefit from brushing). This process stops plaque and tartar from gaining a foothold on the teeth and beneath the gums, and sets up a lifetime of dental health.
Worth Their While
If a pet reaches their golden years receiving weekly teeth brushing and annual teeth cleanings, it’s likely that they’ll be free of issues related to periodontal (gum) disease. This can mean that a pet may live longer, as the risk of developing systemic illness, like disease of the liver, heart or kidneys, is much lower.
Signs of Problems
Yellowed teeth and bad breath are usually the most common symptoms that senior pet dental care isn’t where it should be. Swollen, red, or bleeding gums can signal that a pet needs immediate attention to their teeth and gums. Left alone, a senior pet may suffer excruciating pain while eating, lethargy, or depression. Loose, broken, or missing teeth may also be noticeable.
Stop the Train
Periodontal disease is 100% preventable. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly (or at least once a week) can make a huge difference. Purchase a small soft-bristled toothbrush and your pet’s favorite flavored toothpaste (Never use human toothpaste). Reward them with loads of praise, head or ear scratches, and maybe a dental treat afterwards.
Additionally, at your pet’s wellness exam, we will look inside the mouth to address potential issues (remember senior pets should have two wellness exams a year). However, because periodontal disease affects the gums, we cannot always see problems beneath the gum line.
We Understand the Fear
Senior pet dental health hinges on routine professional cleanings. To do this safely and effectively, pets must be placed under anesthesia. We understand the fears that owners have, especially regarding their senior pets. We require certain tests before dental procedures to make sure that pets can handle the anesthesia. Furthermore, pets are monitored closely during the procedure.
Upholding Senior Pet Dental Health
In the long run, pets that receive regular attention to their teeth and gums suffer fewer oral health issues than pets that don’t get their teeth brushed or cleaned. Without a doubt, cleanings can be costly for some, and brushing takes up a significant amount of time. However, a pet with severe periodontal disease may require extensive surgeries to remove broken, dead or diseased teeth, and the internal organs may be at risk, as well.
Call us at 707-553-1400 with any questions or concerns about senior pet dental health.