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Did you know that dental disease is the most common chronic disease seen in dogs and cats? Studies have shown that 75% of adult dogs and cats over the age of 5 have some degree of periodontal disease, which involves bone loss around tooth roots. Unfortunately, dogs and cats RARELY tell us when they have significant dental pain. We routinely find broken, infected, and painful teeth on annual physical exams when their caring, attentive owners have never seen signs of discomfort. But we know for sure from our own human experiences that broken, infected, or loose teeth are ALWAYS painful. Dogs and cats are just tough! They don't complain, they are geared to survive and because dental disease is a chronic progressive diease, they just learn to live with chronic dental pain.
Do my pets really have to be put under anesthesia to clean their teeth or perform an extraction?
Yes! If your pet has a tooth (or many teeth) that needs to be extracted, she has probably been avoiding chewing with this tooth for quite sometime. If she could talk, she would raise her paw and say "please get rid of that painful tooth!". Dogs and cats who are just missing a few teeth can still eat dry food with no problem at all. Pets who eventually are left with only a few or no teeth can survive happily with soft/canned foods. Most importantly, they are finally comfortable and won't have chronic dental pain!