Veterinary Dentistry: Does Your Cat or Dog Need a Dentist?

In this article, learn about why taking care of your pet's teeth and gums is an important part of caring for your dog or cat as well as why veterinary dentistry is becoming a popular profession.

Who says animals do not need oral hygiene and care? Animal rights advocates will definitely raise their brows if someone asserts that cats and dogs do not need one.

As animals, dogs and cats like to eat. And because they are both carnivorous and omnivorous, or eating meat and vegetables at the same time, oral health of these animals must also be looked at.

Imagine the great discomfort you feel when you experience tooth aches. That same magnitude of pain is also felt by cats and dogs. You can easily tell if an animal is suffering from oral discomfort if it is restless and appears sad.

In other instances, the animal may turn extra violent and destructive and bites any object that comes its way. That is a normal reflex reaction that somehow alleviates the pain caused by dental problems.

Thus, because more and more people have dogs and cats as pets, the demand for veterinary oral health care services is rapidly increasing. All over the world, the number of veterinary dentists are rising.

Pet owners are starting to realize the importance of having the oral state of their pets checked regularly. The current time is really a golden age for pets and pet owners alike because special services like veterinary dentistry can be easily sought in hospitals and veterinary centers.

What is veterinary dentistry?
Veterinary dentistry generally pertains to the oral care for hygiene and gum treatment for cats and dogs. This specific veterinary segment is almost analogous to human dentistry because they both include primary care, treatment and prevention of oral problems in animals.

The need and interest for veterinary dentistry started rising during the 1980s. During that time, the number of animal hospitals and care centers that offer the service was still limited, especially in the United States and in Europe.

But through the years, veterinary dentistry has significantly gained popularity. In the United States alone, the number of specialty clinics for such services has dramatically grown five fold or more.

Veterinarians are starting to offer veterinary dentistry care and services for their clients' cats and dogs. Take note that most veterinary dentistry services are administered to cats and dogs because these animals are the most usually domesticated as pets in households.

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Aside from that, cats and dogs' oral needs and problems are somehow similar to those of humans. Thus, pet owners know the importance of oral and dental healthcare, not just for themselves, but also for their pets.

The science of veterinary dentistry is not yet a full-scaled science but you would certainly be surprised at how advancements and technologies have been developed and devised for the service.

Veterinary dentistry has been offered as a special course in veterinary medicine. There are also formal education and crash courses offered by several animal centers for vets and pet owners who aim to acquire basic knowledge of the science.

Veterinary dentistry and animals' oral diseases
As you know, cats and dogs are also prone to teeth cavities and gum problems. Theirs is practically worse compared to humans' because these animals have not been subjected to proper oral care since their birth.

Brushing the teeth of animals is not a usual sight to see, but it is a must, according to experts. That is because cats and dogs are more likely to develop gum and teeth problems due to their diet and food intake habits.

It is estimated that about 80% of pet dogs develop gum diseases. In cats, the figure is lower at 70%. Small wounds in the gums are the most prevalent occurrences of reported and diagnosed gum problems among animals.

Simple oral care for cats and dogs
Experts advise cat and dog owners to start a simple oral care regimen for the pets. The animals' teeth must also be brushed regularly. It is advised that brushing cats' and dogs' teeth must be started when the pets are still at their early age. As time goes by, they will be accustomed to the activity.

There are special and tiny toothbrush products in the market today that are specifically made for cats and dogs. Special toothpastes are also sold through vet supplies.You could also watch the diet of the pets. Of course, good and nutritious food would be beneficial. If you love your pets, you would surely start an oral care regimen for these animals.

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The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your veterinarian or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment.