Your dog's oral health influences their overall health and well-being. Because of this, it's important to make sure that your dog's teeth and gums are clean and healthy. Here, our Gilbert vets share some of the ways you can keep your dog's teeth in excellent condition.
Why should I worry about my dog's teeth?
Just like in people, a dog's health is very closely related to their overall physical condition and well-being. Unfortunately, gum (periodontal) disease and cavities are common health issues in dogs across the United States—even in very young dogs. These oral health issues can lead to some dire consequences for the overall health of pets as bacteria from their oral disease travels throughout their body.
Because of this, it's critical to take these easy steps to keep your pet's mouth healthy.
How can I clean my dog's teeth?
Dog owners play a critical role in helping their pup fight the battle against oral health issues. Here are some tips for you about how you can help to cleaning your dog's mouth:
- You should brush your dog's teeth. It is an important part of their oral health routine. Using either a dog-specific brush or a finger brush, you can remove plaque and debris from your dog's teeth. If your canine companion doesn't like having their teeth brushed, a small amount of canine toothpaste can help. Toothpaste comes in a range of flavors your dog is sure to love.
- Use a plaque prevention product (ask your vet for trustworthy recommendations) that you can apply to your pet’s gums and teeth. These products help prevent plaque buildup between professional cleanings.
- Give your dog dental treats, food and chews that are designed to help keep plaque buildup and tartar at bay.
Why does my dog need professional teeth cleaning?
While maintaining their at-home oral care routine (and possibly supplementing it with dental chews and treats) is important to keeping your dog's mouth in optimal health, it is also very important that you bring them in to your vet for regularly scheduled professional cleanings. These, when combined with at-home care, are the best way to ensure your dog's mouth remains clean, healthy and properly functional.
Without this annual cleaning, teeth can become covered with plaque, which can lead to bad breath, gingivitis and eventually periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. This can also have severe consequences for your pup’s overall health, as periodontal disease may lead to heart disease (when bacteria enters the bloodstream through the mouth, it can infect other organs).
Dental care is an essential element of your pet’s overall physical health. Schedule your dog’s annual dental appointment today - your pooch will be grateful!
What is involved in professional dog dental care?
We advise that your book an annual appointment for your dog's dental checkup. You may need to bring your pup in more frequently than that though if they are prone to developing dental problems.
Your veterinarian will perform an oral health evaluation, looking for signs of dental problems, including:
- Discolored teeth
- Bad breath
- Loose or broken teeth
- Swelling, pain, or bleeding in or around the mouth
- Extra teeth or baby teeth that have been retained
- Plaque or tartar buildup
You can also take this chance to let your vet know if you've noticed any symptoms like dropping food in their mouth, drooling, abnormal chewing habits and a reduced appetite (which could be caused by pain in your dog's mouth when they eat).
Your vet will also determine whether your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia, then perform additional diagnostics if required. Once we have safely anesthetized your pet, we complete a full oral exam (tooth-by-tooth) and charting.
While they are safely under anesthesia, their teeth will be cleaned and polished (in addition to their gum line). The vet will probe and radiograph each tooth, then apply a fluoride treatment before using a dental sealant to fight plaque. If we find advanced periodontal disease, a custom treatment plan to help restore your pet's good oral health.