Gum disease and tooth decay can be just as much of an issue for our dogs as they are for us. Because of this, caring for your dog's teeth is a critical element in caring for your pup's overall health. Here, our Avon vets explain how to keep your dog's mouth clean and their oral health in tip-top shape.
Is dog dental care really necessary?
Your dog's oral health is an incredibly important part of their overall well-being. Our pups will often start showing signs of periodontal disease and other oral health issues, however, by the time they are three years old. This early start to dental disease can have serious negative consequences for their long-term health.
In humans, studies have shown a link between periodontal disease and heart disease and this appears to hold true for our pets as well.
The link between heart disease and periodontal disease in dogs is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function and causing issues with other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.
A routine of at-home oral hygiene care paired with dental treats can pay dividends when it comes to helping your pup keep their teeth clean and control the buildup of plaque and tartar in their mouth. The absolute best and most consistent way to ensure that you dog's mouth stays clean and healthy is to make sure you take them in to visit your vet for an annual dental examination and hygiene cleaning.
Neglecting annual professional cleaning could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay and tooth loss.
What are the risks of dog teeth cleaning?
Like any procedure performed while under anesthesia, there are risks involved in dental cleanings. Because of this, our vets assess all pets to ensure they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia. We will conduct additional diagnostics if required to make sure that your pet's dental exam is as safe for your pet as possible.
What will happen during my dog's dental cleaning appointment?
To help prevent your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease, our Avon vets at Animal General recommend bringing your dog in for a dental appointment at least once each year, or more frequently if they are suffering from more severe or recurring dental problems.
When bringing your dog to Animal General for an oral health exam, our veterinary team will perform a full oral exam for your dog, checking them for any signs of issues, including:
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Bad breath
If you detect symptoms of periodontal disease in your pet, such as reduced appetite (which can be an indication of tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath or other symptoms be sure to contact your vet right away to schedule a dental appointment for your pet. Oral health issues can become severe if left untreated and cause your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Once your pet is safely sedated, we will perform a full tooth-by-tooth examination, complete with charting, (just like your dentist does during your examinations).
While your dog is safely and comfortably under the effects of anesthesia, we will thoroughly polish and your dog's teeth, above and below the gum line. We will then probe and x-ray their teeth, protect them against future damage and decay with a fluoride treatment and apply a dental sealant to help prevent the buildup of plaque.
If your pooch is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a pain-free and healthy state.
How long does it take for a dog to recover from teeth cleaning?
Each dog is different, however, you can probably expect your pup to begin recovering from their anesthetic within a couple of hours. In some cases, it can take between 24 and 48 hours for them to fully recover. During this time, your pup may seem drowsy and may also have a reduced appetite.
How much does dog teeth cleaning cost?
The cost of dog dental cleaning varies widely due to a number of factors including the size of your dog, the condition of your dog's teeth, where you live, and your individual vet. Contact your vet to get an accurate estimate for having your dog's teeth cleaned.
All of that being said, the most invasive and expensive procedures can be avoided with routine dental care for your dog. Regularly scheduled veterinary care, pulse at-home oral hygiene care, will help your and your vet take proactive steps to avoid tooth decay and gum disease in your dog that may otherwise cause excessive pain, tooth loss and more.
Should I be cleaning my dog's teeth?
As a pet owner, you play an essential role in helping your dog fight dental disease. Here are a few easy ways that you can help to keep your dog's mouth healthy and how to clean your dog's teeth:
- Use a finger brush from your vet, or a child’s toothbrush to brush your pet’s teeth daily to remove any plaque or debris. It's a simple as brushing your own teeth. If your dog resists having their teeth cleaned try some doggie toothpaste in flavors your pooch will find irresistible. These special toothpastes can turn a chore into a treat.
- Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
- Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.
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.