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Oral Health the Trickle Effect

By April 29, 2024 April 30th, 2024 No Comments

Did you know that the oral health of your dog or cat can directly affect their overall health? A mouth full of calculus, infection, and rotting teeth can cause undo stress and potential complications with a pet’s heart, liver & kidneys. A pet’s mouth and teeth also have many important functions including – eating, tasting, grooming, defense, and cooling so it stands to reason that it’s important to ensure they remain in good condition.

It’s been reported that all dogs older than 5 years and more than 95% of cats over the age of 8 suffer from dental disease, but it’s often not until well into a pet’s adult years that owners start mentioning teeth. The most common complaint – is stinky breath.

So how do YOU as a pet owner help keep your beloved furry friend’s dental hygiene in check to keep that breath (and other dental concerns) at bay?

Western Animal Clinic’s Steps to Keeping Your Pet’s Mouth Healthy


Whether you’ve adopted a puppy/kitten or an older pet, you should start an oral hygiene routine at home. Going slowly to get your pet used to having their mouth touched and eventually cleaned, also has the added benefit of making your pet less resistant to the Veterinarian having a thorough look in their mouth during an exam.


You should start brushing your pet’s teeth right from the beginning, as this is of most benefit when tartar has not built up and calcified on the teeth. For optimal results, 3x weekly will help ensure the removal of plaque and prevent the formation of tartar/calculus.

* Alternatives to brushing
If brushing is not realistic for you and your pet, there are many alternatives that can help remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup. Ask us about the oral sprays, gels, and water additive options available to see which is right for your pet


These pet foods are specifically formulated to encourage chewing and help remove plaque buildup on the teeth. They are very palatable and well-received by dogs and cats alike. It would be ideal to use dental food as the primary diet for the full benefits, but it can also be used in conjunction with other foods or as special treats.


Having dentistry performed when it is recommended by your Veterinarian will help your pet feel their best. Can you imagine eating with tartar, inflammation, or rotting teeth? It’s a good time to note that we cannot reason with a pet to get them to keep their mouths open so they do need to be fully anesthetized when we perform a dental. This allows us easy access to their mouths and prevents potential trauma to healthy teeth as we scale and polish without the worry of movement. At Western Animal Clinic, we have a range of dentistry pricing based on your pet’s specific needs.

Classification of Procedures for Dental Disease

Just like humans, dogs and cats will benefit from having their teeth professionally cleaned BEFORE an issue arises. These dental can help reduce the risk of your pet needing tooth extractions and also reduce the anesthetic time for your pet.  When done early, routine dental can keep your pet’s mouth clean and infection-free for longer and sometimes for life. We always do full mouth X-rays to make sure there isn’t any hidden dental disease under the gum line.

At this stage, we also start with full mouth X-rays so we can see what’s going on under the gums as well as on the surface of the exposed tooth. With this full picture, our doctors are better able to assess tooth health and determine the best course of action for your pet’s pearly whites. Often the scale and polish are extensive but extractions are usually minimal and you can expect a quick recovery.

Dentistries labeled as severe aren’t for the faint of heart. These procedures usually result in multiple tooth extractions and extensive cleanings of anything remaining. Again, full mouth X-rays are performed so we can be sure we’re not leaving any diseased teeth in the mouth. Recovery from severe dentistry is a little longer and often involves softened food, pain medication, and antibiotics, but don’t fret, these are the dentals we most often see. While these procedures are a little more intense, rest assured that your dog or cat will be much happier and healthier with their oral issues addressed.


We’d like to say that with diligent home care your pet will never need a dentist, but at least once in their lifetime each dog or cat will still likely require professional intervention, no different than we as humans do. By implementing oral care into your pet’s weekly or daily life, you can slow the progression of dental disease and make that professional cleaning a mild one.

So go on, take a look in your pet’s mouth ….. would you want teeth like that? If there’s even the slightest “ICK factor” please be sure to have a dental discussion with one of our Veterinarians the next time your pet is in to see us and help your pet make the most of the teeth they were given!

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