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The Importance of Pet Dental Care

How healthy are your pet’s teeth and gums? They should be inspected at least once a year by a veterinarian. Dental care is a vital part of caring for your beloved pup or kitty.

Here are some facts that show the importance of taking your pet to the vet for regular dental checkups.

Over Age 3 = Increased Risk for Disease

Pets don’t have to be old to show signs of dental disease. Fully 70% of cats and 80% of dogs over age 3 show early signs of oral disease.

Dental plaque buildup is a major contributor to the problem. This is why regular checkups and cleanings are so helpful in preventing more serious issues down the road.

Dental Disease Can Lead to Organ Disease

The impact of dental health extends far beyond the mouth. Dental disease can lead to system-wide problems in your pet’s body.

Heart problems are sometimes related to a pet’s poor oral hygiene. Periodontal disease is associated with microscopic changes in the heart, liver, and kidneys that contribute to organ disease.

This means if your pet has diabetes, it can be worsened by a lack of dental care. The same goes for breathing and lung problems, like asthma.

Bad Breath Can Come From Bad Dental Health

Does your pet’s breath stink? It’s normal for dogs and cats to have breath that smells a little stinky, but a strong odor isn’t normal.

Breath that smells fishy or rotten, or much stronger than usual, should be checked by a vet. Your pet may have a throat infection or something stuck below the gumline, breeding bacteria. It’s important to rule out causes of bad breath and get to the root of the problem.

Tooth Problems are Painful for Your Pet

Tooth and mouth issues are one of the most common sources of day-to-day pain in pets. Yet pets are good at hiding pain, and may not show outward signs that something hurts.

Losing teeth – even baby teeth – can be painful for your pet. When a baby tooth doesn’t fall out completely or becomes impacted, it can cause swelling, infection, and persistent pain.

Often, you can’t see what exactly is causing them pain. It could be deep within the gum, or at the back of their mouth. The only sign of their pain could be panting, sleeping more than usual, or being skittish about being touched.

Vets Notice Little Things You Don’t

Regular checkups and cleanings give your vet an opportunity to examine your pet’s mouth thoroughly. During these appointments, they might spot something unexpected.

For example, your pet could have a cyst or tumor that formed over a period of months since your last appointment. Quick treatment could save your pet from disease and pain.

At Shackleford Veterinary Clinic, we believe in the importance of routine dental care. That’s why we’re offering you 10% off dental treatments and products during the month of February that support pet health.

Stop by and see us at 11601 Kanis Rd in Little Rock, or give us a call at 501-224-6998. We’ll treat your pet to a gentle, thorough dental exam and help preserve their dental health for a long and happy lifetime.

How to Help Your Pet Live Longer with Good Dental Care

Regularly Visit your Little Rock Veterinarian for Dental Check-Ups

Our team will perform a complete dental exam and will then recommend oral care and/or a treatment tailored for your pet. Treatment can involve professional teeth cleaning and polishing, and dental surgery (tooth extraction) if necessary. Drugs may be prescribed to complement the treatment: antibiotics or local antiseptics during some days or weeks in order to fight bacterial infection.

Do not hesitate to ask us if your pet suffers from bad breath or decreased appetite.

Preventive Dental Care at Home

Dental home care is critical in the prevention of periodontal disease. It is also a key factor to make the effects of professional dental cleaning last longer.

You can help delay the first professional dental cleaning with appropriate dental care at home starting as early as possible in your pet’s life.

Brushing, chewing, rinsing, food or water additive: All of these are good ways to prevent the accumulation of dental plaque and bacteria on your pet’s teeth and help them live a long, happy life.

Bad Breath: The Evidence of Periodontal Disease

Imagine never brushing your teeth… for years. That’s what happens to your pet without proper dental care. Bad breath is not a normal condition for dogs and cats. It is evidence of a very serious condition: periodontal disease.

What is Periodontal Disease?

It’s the scientific name given to disease of the gum and surrounding tissues of the teeth. Periodontal disease occurs when there is an excess build-up of dental plaque that is further infected by bacteria and mineralized into tartar. More than 85% of dogs and cats suffer from some stage of periodontal disease.

Bad breath rarely originates from intestinal or liver problems; it comes from poor oral health. And, without proper oral care, periodontal disease can have very serious and irreversible consequences.


Advanced stages of periodontal disease have very serious effects and can shorten your pet’s life:

  • Jaw bone destruction leading to fractures, dental abscesses and tooth loss
  • Intense pain preventing your pet from eating
  • Spreading of bacteria into the blood flow toward other organs (heart, liver, kidneys and lungs)

For more than 30 years, Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic has been serving pet owners and their furry friends across central Arkansas with comprehensive and compassionate veterinary services. Contact us today and let our doctors and techs keep your pets happy and healthy.

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