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, defence 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 cat 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 – 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
1. START EARLY
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.
2. BRUSH, BRUSH, BRUSH
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 build up. Ask us about the oral sprays, gels and water additive options available to see which is right for your pet
3. TRY A DENTAL DIET
These pet foods are specifically formulated to encourage chewing and help remove plaque build up on the teeth. They are very palatable and well received by dogs and cats alike. It would be ideal to use a dental food as the primary diet for the full benefits, but they can also be used in conjunction with other foods or as special treats.
4. PROFESSIONAL DENTAL CLEANINGS
Having a 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 Dental Disease
Just like humans, dogs and cats will benefit from having their teeth professionally cleaned BEFORE an issue arises. These dentals can help reduce the risk of your pet needing tooth extractions and also reduces anesthetic time for your pet. When done early, routine dentals can keep your pet’s mouth clean and infection-free for longer and sometimes for life.
At this stage, we recommend doing full mouth x-rays on your pet 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 can determine the best course of action for your pet’s pearly whites. Often the scale and polish is extensive but extractions are usually minimal and you can expect a quick recovery.
Dentistries labelled 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 a 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 dentistry, 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!
February and March of 2019 are Dental Health Months – Check out our Promotions