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Pet owners in Germantown, Bartlett, Cordova, and Memphis call our PetVax Complete Care Centers frequently wanting answers to questions about their pet's teeth and gum health. Here are some of the most common pet dental questions we receive from dog and cat owners with answers provided by your veterinarian in Memphis.
Warning signs your pet needs a veterinary dental check include chronic bad breath, yellowing or darkening of teeth near the gum line, swollen/bleeding gums, loose teeth and drooling. Pets with teeth and gum pain may avoid crunchy food and merely lick wet food instead of taking normal bites. If it is painful for your dog or cat to eat food on one side of their mouth, you may also notice them holding their head oddly to chew food using certain teeth.
No, dogs and cats should not always have "doggy" breath or "fishy" breath hours after eating a meal. Just like chronic halitosis is a sign of tooth decay or gum disease in humans, bad breath in pets means tooth decay, abscesses, gingivitis and/or periodontitis is causing the foul odor.
Younger, healthy pets should visit their veterinarian in Memphis once a year for an oral exam, professional teeth cleaning and x-rays. Mature pets and pets with a history of dental surgery or another extensive dental service may need bi-annual dental exams to maintain good oral health.
By the time a dog or cat is three years old, they will present evidence of varying degrees of periodontal disease. This happens primarily as a consequence of eating commercial pet food containing non-protein fillers and being fed "people" food high in sugar and carbohydrates. Periodontal disease starts to damage your pet's teeth and gums when bacteria-rich plaque accumulates on teeth and turns into a hard biofilm that dissolves tooth enamel. Unless removed, plaque spreads onto tooth roots by advancing under the gum line, causing gum infection and decay. In addition, oral bacteria impacts your pet's immune system by triggering a release of inflammatory chemicals that not only target teeth and gums but bone as well. In severe cases of periodontitis, oral bacteria may find its way into the animal's bloodstream and promote kidney, liver or heart disease.
To keep your pet safe and free from discomfort, your veterinarian will need to lightly sedate your pet during an oral exam and teeth cleaning. Most pets do not like having someone pry their mouth open to inspect all areas of their mouth and won't lie still enough for this to be performed properly. Rest assured your pet's breathing rate, heart rate and other vital signs are being monitored closely during the exam and cleaning. Once a dog or cat awakes from sedation, you can take your pet home within 30 to 45 minutes.
If you still have pet dental questions or want to make an appointment, please call one of our PetVax Complete Care Centers in Germantown, Cordova, Bartlett or Memphis today to speak to a friendly veterinarian in Memphis!
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