Taking care of your dog's teeth is important in order to avoid oral health issues. Our vets in Sacramento share insight on how to properly provide dental care for your dog.
Is dog dental care really necessary?
In most dogs, signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) are apparent by the time they reach about three years of age. Just as in people, your dog's oral health is essential, and poor oral health can adversely impact their physical health and wellbeing.
In both humans and our dogs, there is a link between periodontal disease and systemic diseases such as heart disease in humans. This is due to bacteria that enter the bloodstream from the mouth, which proceeds to damage heart function and can also potentially cause issues with other organs. These diseases are felt along with the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.
One of the best ways to avoid the issues of dental disease is through preventive care. Maintaining a consistent at-home oral health care routine along with dental diets and treats can be very useful to help your pup keep a clean mouth, as well as to control the buildup of plaque and tartar. While these home care routines are greatly beneficial, the best way to ensure that your dog’s mouth stays clean and healthy is to take them for annual dental exams and cleanings with your Sacramento vet.
Ensuring that routine dental care is a main part of your dog's annual wellness plan is highly recommended. Foregoing annual professional cleaning could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, as well as pain, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
What will happen during my dog's dental care appointment?
Bringing your dog in to see our Sacramento vets at Elkhorn-Walerga Animal Hospital for their annual wellness exam will allow your vets the opportunity to monitor their oral health. During this visit, we will assess their mouth for early signs of disease which could look like:
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding in or around the mouth
- Inflamed gums
- Pain associated with chewing
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Bad breath
If you notice signs of periodontal disease in your pet, be sure to contact your vet right away to schedule a dental assessment for your pet. Oral health issues can become severe if left untreated and cause your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Prior to administering anesthesia, our vets conduct the necessary evaluations along with additional diagnostics if required to ensure the safety of your pet. Once the level of sedation is optimal, we will perform a full oral exam (tooth-by-tooth) complete with charting, (just like your dentist does during your examinations) and x-ray the teeth. X-rays are an essential part of dental services in order to allow the medical team to understand the degree of periodontal disease under the gum line.
Once we gather information from the full oral exam, charting, and x-rays, we are able to create a customized treatment plan for your pet that includes cleaning and polishing your pup’s teeth, both above and below the gum line.
Should I brush my dog's teeth?
Since your dog is unable to properly clean its teeth you will need to ensure that this is a regular part of your dog's care routine. Here are a few easy ways that you can help to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy:
- Finger brushes and children's toothbrushes are ideal for dogs' mouths along with specially designed pet toothpaste to brush your pet’s teeth daily to remove any plaque or debris.
- Your vet is able to provide plaque prevention which acts as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup, that you can apply to your dog's teeth and gums or add to their drinking water.
- Special dental chews or foods that are designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar can be offered to your dog.
Dental care is a crucial part of your pet's overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual wellness exam today to be proactive with your dog's health
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.