Elderly pets are at higher risk for tooth decay and gum problems than younger pets. Pet parents must be especially vigilant with older pets to ensure that their teeth and gums stay healthy and strong into pet old age.
AVMA recommends that all pets be seen by their vet at least once per year to check your pet’s teeth and gums. It is also recommended that you conduct frequent checks of your pet’s mouth to look for any issues that may present themselves.
Call your vet if your pet exhibits any of the following warning signs of dental disease:
- bad breath
- broken or loose teeth
- extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
- abnormal chewing, drooling, or dropping food from the mouth
- reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- pain in or around the mouth
- bleeding from the mouth
- swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
And while most tooth or gum related illnesses can be treated oftentimes with anesthesia, older pets may be at higher risk for anesthesia dental cleanings if they have other underlying medical conditions. Therefore, prevention is the key to caring for your pet’s mouth.
Pet parents are encouraged to check their pet’s mouth monthly to ensure that their pet’s mouth is clean. Regular brushing is the single most effective thing you can do to keep your pet’s teeth healthy between dental cleanings by your vet. Even brushing just several times per week can be effective. There are a number of products available that can help you brush your pet’s teeth more effectively and there are some products that aid your pet in their brushing. Speak with your vet before purchasing dental products, treats or dental-specific diets you may consider for your pet.
Below are some ideas on products that are available to assist you with taking care of your pet’s teeth. We do not endorse or promote any of these products or companies. Products are listed for demonstration purposes only based on available information at the time of publication. You should always consult your vet to determine what is most appropriate for your pet.