Dental Care & Your Pet
Is your pet experiencing bad breath? Have you noticed him/her pawing at the mouth? Does your pet seem hesitant to eat or does chewing seems painful? These are all symptoms of dental disease. Besides just bad breath and pain, dental disease releases bacteria in the blood stream and increases the risk for heart, liver and kidney disease. Dental disease is the most common disease seen by veterinarians in dogs and recent studies show that 85% of cats and 92% of dogs over age 3 have dental disease.
So what can you do to help your pet? The first step is annual professional dental cleanings by the veterinarian. While your pet is under general anesthesia, your veterinarian will perform a dental examination and assess your pet’s teeth, lips and gums and determine the level of cleaning needed. Plaque and tartar are removed and teeth are polished and scaled. Some teeth may be too deteriorated and need to be removed during oral surgery. Dental x-rays are new to the veterinary industry but allow the veterinarians to see the depth of disease under the gum lines. Not every veterinarian has dental x-rays so ask before scheduling the appointment.
What can you do to take care of your pet’s dental health at home?
- Dry kibble is better than canned wet foods but will not fully remove tartar.
- Chewing on dental care bones or treats can help.
- Use water additive and oral rinse products available for cats and dogs. These items can be purchased from your veterinarian. Ask which products they recommend for your particular pet.
- Regular brushing at home is the best way to consistently clean your pet’s teeth. You can purchase pet toothbrushes and paste from your veterinarian and receive guidance and tips on how to make it an easier process on you and your pet.
Regular dental care, along with annual preventative veterinary care, can add up to two years to your pet’s life. Talk with your vet about what options are best for your pet. Their breath and smile will say thanks!
Valleydale Animal Clinic