It's very important to maintain a good oral health care routine for your dog because it helps to prevent dangerous dental and physical health issues such as periodontal disease. In this blog, our vets in Argyle discuss the ways you can prevent your pet from developing oral health conditions and the importance of dental health care for dogs.
Is dental healthcare important for dogs?
It's important for your dog's overall health and wellbeing that you implement a good oral healthcare routine. If your dog has poor dental health they can start showing signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) when they are as young as three years old. When your pooch develops periodontal disease when they are young it can negatively impact their long-term health.
Studies show a link between periodontal disease and heart disease in dogs (and humans).
This connection between heart disease and periodontal disease in dogs occurs when bacteria enters their bloodstream from their mouth, damaging heart function and possibly causing problems with other organs. These health issues will develop in addition to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.
Combining at-home oral care routines with dental treats can help your canine companion's s teeth stay clean and assists in controlling the buildup of plaque and tartar. However, the best way to make sure your dog's mouth stays healthy is to take them to the vet for annual dental exams and hygiene cleanings.
Skipping your canine companion's professional cleanings could put them at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
What happens at dog dental appointments?
To help prevent your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease, our Argyle vets at Argyle Veterinary Hospital recommend bringing your pup in for a dental appointment at least one time a year, or more routinely if they are experiencing more severe or recurring dental conditions.
When you bring your pup to the vet for their dental checkup our veterinarians will conduct a full oral examination for your pooch and check for signs of the following dental issues :
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Bad breath
- Loose or
- Broken teeth
If you see that your dog is suffering from any of the symptoms associated with periodontal disease, including a reduced appetite (which can be a sign of tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath, or other symptoms call your veterinarian as soon as possible to book a dental examination for your four-legged friend. Oral health conditions can become severe if they go untreated, causing your dog a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Our vets examine every pet to make sure they are healthy enough to undergo anesthesia and perform additional diagnostics if needed to ensure your pet is safe to go through a dental exam while anesthetized. When your dog is safely sedated, we will complete a full examination tooth-by-tooth, with charting, (just like your dentist does during your examinations).
While we have your dog safely and comfortably under anesthesia, we will clean and polish your pooch's teeth, above and below the gum line. We then probe and X-ray each tooth. Also, to help protect your pup from future tooth decay and damage we use a fluoride treatment before applying a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.
If your dog has advanced periodontal disease, our vets will work with you to customize a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a healthy and pain-free state.
How can I clean my dog's teeth?
As a dog owner, you have an essential role in helping your pup prevent and tackle dental diseases. Below are a handful of methods you can use to maintain your dog's healthy mouth, we have also listed how you can clean your dog's teeth:
- Use a finger brush (provided by your vet), or a child’s toothbrush to brush your pet’s teeth every day to remove any plaque or debris. It's as easy as brushing your own teeth. If your dog resists having their teeth cleaned try using doggie toothpaste in flavors your pup will love. These special kinds of toothpaste can make a chore a treat for your dog.
- Apply a plaque prevention product (recommended by your vet) to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
- Offer your dog treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque and tartar from building up.
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.