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Senior Pet Dental Care: Addressing Oral Health Challenges in Aging Animals

As your pet enters its golden years, you’ll notice several changes in its behavior, health, and overall well-being. Just like humans, senior pets face a variety of age-related challenges, and one of the most overlooked aspects of their health is dental care. Senior pet dental care is crucial for maintaining your furry friend's quality of life.

Common Oral Health Concerns in Aging Animals

Senior pets are prone to several common oral health concerns. Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent dental issues in aging animals. This condition affects the structures around the teeth, including the gums and bones, leading to pain, tooth loss, and potential infection. Tooth decay and broken teeth are also common, as wear and tear over the years take their toll on your pet's pearly whites.

Another concern is oral tumors, which may be more common in older pets. These can range from benign growths to malignant cancers that can aggressively affect oral structures. Regular check-ups are important to catch these issues early on, as some can be treated successfully if detected promptly.

Lastly, many senior pets may suffer from a condition known as resorptive lesions. These painful lesions can cause the enamel to erode, resulting in significant discomfort and the need for tooth extraction.

How to Address Common Dental Health Issues in Senior Pets

Regular home dental care, including teeth brushing with pet-safe toothpaste, can significantly reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Dental chews and diets specially formulated to promote oral health can also be beneficial. However, even with diligent home care, some dental issues may still arise.

It's essential to be vigilant for signs of dental discomfort in your pet, such as difficulty eating, drooling, bad breath, or pawing at the mouth. Should you notice any of these symptoms, it's imperative to consult your veterinarian. They can provide a thorough dental examination and recommend the best course of action.

Veterinarians specialize in providing comprehensive dental care tailored to the needs of senior pets. This can range from routine cleanings to more complex procedures like root canals, extractions, and even orthodontics in some cases.

During a professional cleaning, your pet will typically be placed under anesthesia. This allows the veterinarian to perform a thorough cleaning both above and below the gum line, where bacteria and food particles can hide. Dental X-rays are also a common part of a professional dental exam, helping to identify any problems lurking below the surface that aren't visible to the naked eye.

If your senior pet is diagnosed with an oral tumor, the veterinarian may discuss surgical options or, in some cases, refer you to a veterinary oncologist. The key to managing these serious conditions is early detection and swift, appropriate treatment.

Ensuring a Happy and Healthy Life for Your Senior Pet

By understanding and recognizing common oral health concerns, you can take preemptive steps to protect your beloved companion. And if dental issues do arise, knowing how to address them promptly can save your pet from unnecessary pain and potential secondary health complications.

Schedule a oral exam today and ensure a happy and healthy life for your furry companion, visit Greenwood Village Veterinary Clinic at our office in Greenwood Village, Colorado, or call (303) 771-6304 today.

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