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Periodontal Disease in Dogs and Cats: What You Need to Know

February 2nd, 2015 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Tigger and Max have been checked for periodontal disease in dogs and cats.

Did you know that periodontal disease is the most common disease in adult dogs and cats?

Our Castle Rock veterinarians created this article to help you better understand periodontal disease in dogs and cats — and what you can do about it!

What is periodontal disease in dogs and cats?

Periodontal disease is an inflammation and infection that takes place in the gums around your pet’s teeth.

What causes it?

The short answer: bacteria.

They build up in your pet’s mouth. Ultimately, they form soft plaque that can get underneath the gum line and harden into tartar.

How common is periodontal disease in dogs and cats?

It’s estimated that more than four out of five cats and dogs have pet periodontal disease by the time they’re four years old.

There’s a silver lining to this statistic, though.

Pet periodontal disease can almost always be prevented or minimized.

It takes a combination of home dental care and veterinary dental cleaning.

How can pet parents help prevent periodontal disease?

There are a number of things you can do at home to help your furry friend fight plaque.

Check out our article on pet dental care products for tips on what to do at home.

How can our Castle Rock veterinarians help?

To help you keep your dog or cat healthy, our veterinarians always include a routine dental exam in your pet’s annual checkup.

Again, the key is to catch periodontal disease in dogs and cats early!

In addition, you’re welcome to schedule a complimentary dental evaluation with us anytime your pet needs it, so we can check your pet’s dental health.

How do our veterinarians treat periodontal disease in dogs and cats?

It depends on how severe it is in your dog or cat.

If your pet is in the first two stages of the disease (known as gingivitis and mild periodontitis)…

  • Dental cleanings can help reverse the progress of the disease.
  • Our veterinarians may need to extract a few teeth from your dog or cat, but we make that decision on a case-by-case basis.
  • The sooner you start to clean your pet’s teeth, the less likely our vets will need to extract teeth.

If the disease progresses, however, your pet can get moderate to severe periodontitis.

  • In these stages, it’s likely your pet is in pain.
  • You also can expect multiple extractions.
  • It’s important to have your pet’s teeth cleaned immediately to help your pet avoid losing more gum tissue and teeth.

The key is to prevent the disease or start treating it as soon as possible.

That way, your pet will be in as little pain as possible.

How does pet periodontal disease affect dogs and cats?

Initially, your pet will feel some mild discomfort.

If periodontal disease isn’t treated, though, it can cause more significant issues, such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • The destruction of your pet’s teeth, gums and bones
  • Damage to your pet’s major organs

What are some symptoms of periodontal disease in dogs and cats?

We’ll tell you upfront, the symptoms of periodontal disease aren’t always easy to notice.

Dogs and cats are good at hiding pain.

Plus, periodontal disease in dogs and cats can be tough to identify without dental x-rays. We’ve had pet families bring in dogs with severe periodontitis, and those dogs are still eating regularly.

With that said, even the toughest dog or cat may show some signs.

Please bring your dog or cat in for a dental evaluation if you notice that he or she:

  • Has developed consistently bad breath
  • Has gums that look irritated
  • Has a build-up of visible tartar or plaque
  • Has a tooth that looks discolored or darker compared to other teeth
  • Is salivating heavily
  • Has trouble picking up food
  • Is reluctant to eat (this tends to be more of an issue with cats)
  • Seems to favor one side of the mouth for chewing
  • Has bumps and lumps in his or her mouth
  • Is swallowing his or her food without chewing it first
Put your mind at ease

Our veterinarians offer a free dental exam to check your dog’s teeth and oral health. You’ll learn if your dog has periodontal disease and what the cost may be to treat it, if any.

It’s a great way to put your mind at ease, and it’s free!

Simply call us at 303-688-3757 or:

Book your free dental exam here 

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on pet periodontal disease in dogs and cats. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)

© 2015, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

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