Dental Care in Pets

February is National Pet Dental Health month.

Reasons Why Dental Care is Important

  • Better breath
  • Can prevent problems with other organs of the animal. The tartar and any infected areas of the mouth contain bacteria that can go to other parts of the body such as the heart, kidneys and the intestinal tract.
  • Reduce gum irritation and tartar build up.
  • Prevent tooth loss.
  • Prevent periodontal disease (gingivitis) – an infection of the gums caused by plaque bacteria. This may be reversed with a thorough teeth cleaning and daily teeth brushing.
  • Prevent periodontitis – a severe infection of the bone and other tissues that support the teeth. Bone loss is irreversible.

Signs your pet may have dental problems

  • Bad breath can be a sign of dental disease/oral health issues.
  • Tartar, inflamed gums or missing/broken teeth.
  • Reluctance on your pet's part to eat or play with toys.
  • Bleeding gums.
Dental care for your pet(s) should begin as early as possible in order to prevent any future dental healthcare issues. Owners need to be on the look out for retained deciduous (baby teeth) and malocclusion (bad bite) problems with their pet(s). Checking with your veterinarian at an early age will help you to understand how to care for your pet(s) teeth/gums to help prevent these dental problems.

What is Involved in a Dental Cleaning

  • Pre-dental blood work is recommended for all pets because any animal can have congenital problems associated with liver or kidney which could alter how anesthesia is handled by their body. But if your pet is older (3 years or more) and a dental cleaning is deemed necessary, it is highly recommended that a pre-anesthetic blood work be done first. This blood work can show your veterinarian if your pet has any underlying medical problems that might need attention and can reduce any risks to your pet(s) prior to anesthesia.
  • Possible pre-treatment with antibiotics if blood work indicates the need.
  • Pet will need to fast the night before the dental procedure.
  • At the time of the dental procedure itself, the veterinarian will remove the tartar, check for cavities, remove loose or fractured teeth, remove any diseased teeth and polish the teeth to help prevent future tartar formation.