That odor could be an indication of a serious health risk, with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but its internal organs as well.
Dental health is a very important part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused by, other health problems. Your pet’s teeth and gums should be examined at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.
What is veterinary dentistry?
Veterinary dentistry includes the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of your pet’s teeth and all other aspects of oral health care. The process begins with the veterinarian performing an oral exam (sometimes with x-rays) and evaluating the health of the jaw and tooth roots. Dental cleaning includes scaling and polishing, similar to the process used on your own teeth during your regular dental cleanings, but under general anesthesia.
Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by a pet’s 3rd year of life, it’s likely to show early evidence of periodontal disease, which worsens without effective preventive measures. Early detection and treatment are critical because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe pain and problems. It doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth, it can be associated with kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.
Why does my pet have to be anesthetized?
All dental cleanings are performed under anesthesia. Your pet doesn’t understand the benefits of dental procedures, and even the most well-behaved pet reacts by moving, trying to escape, or even biting. Anesthesia makes it possible for us to clean your pet’s teeth with less stress and pain for him or her. It also helps us perform a much better cleaning because your pet isn’t moving around or risking injury from the dental equipment. Keep in mind that although anesthesia has risks, it’s safer now than ever and is continually improving and the benefits far outweigh the risks.
So what can you do for your pet’s oral health?
Brush his teeth! Daily brushing is the best way to combat poor dental health, but let’s face it, with work, kids, a busy schedule, and a dog that probably hates it, it just doesn’t always get done. Sometimes cats will tolerate regular brushing with a seafood flavored toothpaste (yes, it exists).
A great way to introduce brushing to your dog is presenting a pet-friendly flavored toothpaste as a treat and brushing his teeth with your finger. You can then lead up to a finger toothbrush, a regular dog or cat toothbrush, or even a children’s soft toothbrush.
Dental Chews! This is a win/win; you get to give them a treat and they get to have a treat! Studies have shown lower levels of gingivitis, plaque, and calculus in dogs given a daily chew.
Water Additives! Liquid or powder additives are easily mixed with your pet’s drinking water to provide a decrease in bacteria and help freshen breath.
Sienna at 6 Veterinary Hospital located at 8790 Hwy 6, Suite 100 in Missouri City, Texas offers a variety of dental health products including toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental chews, water additives, oral wipes, and even oral spray. Make an appointment today for a complimentary dental exam!
February is National Pet Dental Health Month, take advantage of our February special > CLICK HERE.
In 1993 I graduated from Texas A&M and in 1997 graduated from Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine. I enjoy volunteering with the Scouts, serving on the executive board of K9s4 Cops, and volunteering for numerous rescue organizations. During my free time, I enjoy Texas A&M football, and all things outdoors, especially fishing.