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How Can I Treat My Cocker Spaniel’s Severe Bad Breath and Gum Sores?


Dear VetBabble,


My cocker spaniel has horrible bad breath, and it looks like her entire gum line and inner lips are like a big canker sore. What is it and what should I do to help her?


It’s unfortunate to hear about your cocker spaniel’s dental woes. Gum disease, tartar buildup, and bad breath are actually quite common issues in this breed. In order to help your furry friend overcome these dental problems and prevent further issues, it’s important to follow a comprehensive dental care regimen. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of professional dental cleaning, at-home preventative care, and the benefits of brushing your pet’s teeth.

Professional Dental Cleaning

When tartar has already built up on a pet’s teeth, the best treatment option is to schedule a professional dental cleaning, also known as a Scale and Polish, at your vet clinic. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia, ensuring your pet’s safety and comfort. Prior to the dental cleaning, your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics to reduce the infection around the teeth, promoting a safer dental procedure. The professional dental cleaning will remove the tartar buildup, reducing the risk of gum disease and improving your pet’s overall oral health.

At-Home Preventative Care

Once the tartar has been professionally removed, it’s crucial to maintain your pet’s oral health through regular at-home dental care. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly can help prevent the accumulation of tartar and control bad breath. For dogs, you can follow this guide on Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth: Preventative Dental Care for step-by-step instructions and advice. For cat owners, check out this article on Brushing your Cat’s Teeth: Dental Care for your Pet.

Moreover, providing your pet with dental chews and toys designed specifically for oral health can be an effective way to keep their teeth clean and gums healthy. It’s essential to discuss with your veterinarian the best dental care products for your pet, as well as monitoring your pet’s mouth for any signs of inflammation, infection, or discomfort.

Benefits of Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth

As previously mentioned, bad breath is often caused by bacteria in the mouth feeding on leftover food particles. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly not only helps to remove these food particles and bacteria but also provides several other benefits:

  1. Prevents gum disease and tooth decay: Regular brushing helps to prevent plaque and tartar buildup, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay in your pet.
  2. Reduces the risk of serious health problems: Poor dental health can lead to an increased risk of heart, kidney, and liver disease in pets. Maintaining your pet’s oral health through regular brushing can help minimize these risks.
  3. Improves overall quality of life: Pets with healthy teeth and gums can enjoy a comfortable and pain-free life, which is beneficial not only to their physical well-being but also their mental health and happiness.
  4. Saves money in the long run: Investing time and effort in your pet’s dental care can save you money by preventing costly dental treatments and complications in the future.

As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to prioritize your pet’s dental health. Establishing a regular dental care routine and scheduling regular checkups with your veterinarian can significantly improve your pet’s oral health, leading to a happier and healthier life for your furry companion.

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