Like humans, dogs need consistent dental care in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. In this post, our Toledo vets review basic dental care for dogs and how to care for your pup's teeth.
Is dog dental care really necessary?
Just like our own oral health, the health of our dogs' mouth and teeth is connected to their general health.
Early onset of dental disease can have serious long-term medical impact on your pooch. It is important for owners to know how to take care of their pup's teeth and why it is so vital.
In people, the link between heart disease and periodontal disease has been discovered and studied. This also seems to hold true for our furry four-legged friends as well.
In dogs, bacteria can enter the bloodstream from the mouth, allowing periodontal disease to progress and lead to heart disease. The heart and other organs can become damaged and begin to have issues. Your pup may also experienced pain caused by missing or damaged teeth and eroded gums.
Skipping this professional cleaning can leave your dog at risk for gingivitis, bad breath and periodontal disease. In severe cases, pain, tooth decay and tooth loss may become problems.
What will happen during my dog’s dental care appointment?
Our Toledo vets are here to help prevent your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease. We recommend booking an annual dental appointment for your dog. Your pet may need to come in more often if they are experiencing recurring or more severe dental issues.
When you bring your dog in to Shoreland Animal Hospital for a dental checkup, our vets will perform a complete oral exam for your pup and look for signs of dental problems, including:
- Broken or damaged teeth
- Oral swelling or pain
- Avoidance of food and barking
- Discoloured teeth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Bad breath
- Extra or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
If you detect symptoms of periodontal disease in your pet, such as reduced appetite (which could indicate tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath or other symptoms be sure to contact your vet right away to schedule a dental appointment for your pet. Oral health issues can become severe if left untreated and cause your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Our vets assess all pets to ensure that they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia and conduct additional diagnostics if required to ensure that a dental exam while sedated is safe for your pet. Once your pet is safely sedated, we will perform a full oral exam (tooth-by-tooth) complete with charting, (just like your dentist does during your examinations).
While we have your dog safely and comfortably under anesthesia, our team will thoroughly clean and polish your pup's teeth, both above and below the gum line. We probe and X-Ray the teeth, then to help protect against future decay and damage we use a fluoride treatment before applying a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.
If your pup is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a pain-free and healthy state.
Should I brush my dog's teeth?
As a pet owner, you play a pivotal role in helping your pup fight dental disease. Here are a few easy ways that you can help to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy:
- Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.
- Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment today, your dog will thank you.
- Use a finger brush from your vet, or a child’s toothbrush to brush your pet’s teeth daily to remove any plaque or debris.
- Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.