Periodontal disease and tooth decay can be just as problematic for our canine companions as they are for people. Because of this, caring for your dog's teeth is an important part of caring for your pet's overall health too. Here, our Murfreesboro veterinary team shares some tips on keeping your dog's teeth healthy and clean.
Is dog dental care really necessary?
Your dog's oral health is a key element of their overall health and well-being, just like your dental health is to yours. Pups will often begin to show signs of periodontal disease by the time they grow to age 3. This early start to their struggles with dental disease can have serious negative consequences for their long-term health and happiness.
Studies have shown that there is a link between gum disease and heart disease in humans and all signs point to the same being true for our canine companions as well.
The link between heart disease and periodontal disease in dogs is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function and causing issues with other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.
When paired with things like dental treats, at-home oral health routines can go a long way towards helping your pup to keep their teeth clean and control the buildup of tartar and plaque. Nevertheless, the best way for you to make sure that your dog's mouth stays healthy and clean is to take them to your vet for annual routine dental exams and hygiene cleanings.
Skipping annual professional cleaning could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay and tooth loss.
What will happen during my dog's dental care appointment?
In order to help to prevent your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease, the veterinary team at Brogli Lane Weaver & Alexander Animal Hospital recommends bringing your dog in for a routine dental appointment at least once annually or more frequently if they are suffering from more severe or recurring dental health issues.
When you bring your dog to our Murfreesboro animal hospital for a dental checkup our vets will perform a full oral examination for your pooch and check for signs of dental issues, such as:
- Loose or broken teeth
- Bad breath
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Discolored teeth
If you see symptoms of periodontal disease in your pet like reduced appetite, drooling, dropping food out of their mouth and chewing strangely or any other symptoms, make sure you contact your vet as soon as possible. Oral health issues can become very serious if they aren't promptly treated and can cause your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Our vets assess all pets to make sure they are healthy enough to avoid anesthesia-related complications before conducting our dental exam. Once your pet is safely sedated, we will perform a full examination of each tooth complete with charting.
While we have your dog safely and comfortably under anesthesia, we 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 gum disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a healthy and pain-free state.
Should I brush my dog's teeth?
Pet owners play a critical role in helping their dogs fight dental disease. Learning how to clean your dogs mouth and protect the health of their teeth can save you money on professional dental care down the road. Here a few easy ways that you can help;p your dog's oral health stay in tip-top shape as well as how to clean your dog's teeth.
- 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. It's a simple as brushing your own teeth. If your dog resists having their teeth cleaned try some doggie toothpaste in flavors your pooch will find irresistible. These special toothpastes can turn a chore into a treat.
- 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.
- 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.
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.