Dental Health Tips:
• All Pets require dental exams and many will benefit from professional cleanings to maintain overall health. If dental care is neglected, harmful bacteria can enter your Pet’s system and cause various health problems, such as heart disease and kidney infections.
• Dental examinations are recommended at least every six months. Your veterinarian will then be able to discuss their recommended interval for professional dental cleanings. The frequency of dental cleaning depends on each Pet’s individual needs, so consult your Banfield veterinarian at least once every six months. If you notice bad breath or any other signs of dental disease, bring your Pet in for an examination immediately.
• Small canine breeds, as well as most feline breeds, are at an increased risk of having dental problems and gum infections. While these problems are often caused by overcrowding of the teeth, retention of “baby teeth” or genetic predisposition to gum disease, they are often aggravated by poor dental care.
• If tartar (the non-visible film on teeth) and dental calculus (the visible mineral deposits) are not routinely cleaned from Pets’ teeth on a regular basis, they can cause gums to become red, inflamed, infected and painful (gingivitis). Prolonged tartar, dental calculus and gingivitis can also cause bad breath (halitosis), periodontal disease, dental infections and eventually tooth loss.
• One of the best ways to prevent the formation of tartar and calculus is to brush your Pet’s teeth regularly. By introducing the habit early in life, brushing can become an enjoyable part of your Pet’s healthcare routine. Your veterinarian can recommend toothbrushes and toothpastes that are created especially for Pets. The appropriate use of chew toys can also be an effective way to control tarter. Ask your Banfield veterinarian to recommend specific chew toys for your Pet. Many of the reputable Pet food companies have also formulated diets that aid in the control of tartar and calculus. Some examples include Royal Canin’s dental diets and Hill’s Science Diet t/d diet.
• Pet owners should alert their veterinarians if they notice that their Pets have bad breath, a decreased appetite, weight loss, pain when chewing, red or swollen gums, missing teeth, nasal discharge or tearing or swelling below one eye. Pets should also receive routine physical examinations so problems can be detected early by the veterinarian and addressed before the Pet experiences pain and possible tooth loss.
• Parvovirus is a serious, potentially life threatening viral infection. Parvo disease is currently the most common infectious disease of dogs in the U.S. The disease mainly affects puppies and due to dehydration and intestinal deterioration, this disease is fatal to puppies if not treated in time. Parvo is preventable by vaccination.
• Parvo is a highly contagious disease that affects dogs and can be spread from dog to dog or through inanimate objects such as infected soil, clothing, blankets, food pans and kennel floors, and by rodents and insects. Puppies become infected most often through contact with an infected environment (indoors or outdoors) or directly from a sick or recovered dog that is shedding the virus.
• Initial symptoms include lethargy and disinterest in food. As the disease progresses, puppies become depressed, may drool, vomit repeatedly and have severe, often bloody diarrhea. Puppies may even begin to shiver from fever (or low temperature) and pain. They rapidly become dehydrated and without early aggressive treatment most puppies will die. . If you suspect that your Pet has Parvo, immediately take your Pet to your local Banfield for diagnosis and treatment. Parvo disease is treatable with supportive care, but can be fatal if left untreated.