How to Know if My Pet is in Need of a Dental Cleaning?

Your pet might need a dental if:

-Difficulty chewing or chewing only on one side of the mouth

-Bad Breath

-Tooth loss

-Bleeding from mouth or drooling

-Oral pain (pet is reluctant to let you touch the mouth area)

-Decreased appetite or weight loss


Did You know?

Did you know that 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of 3 years have some sort of periodontal disease? It can be caused by the buildup of plaque, so it’s important to go in for regular dental checkups and cleanings.

Caring for your pet’s teeth can prevent other health problems, saving you tons of money over the long term!

Your dog and cat are very good at hiding pain – you might never know that your pet has a serious dental problem until it’s very advanced. This is yet another reason it’s important to take your pet in for regular dental checkups.

Dental disease can actually lead to problems with your pet’s organs, such as the kidneys, heart, and liver.

A pet with healthy teeth equals a pet with better breath!


What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease starts when bacteria forms plaque that sticks to the outer surface of the teeth. Following plaque formation, minerals in the saliva harden the plaque to form into dental calculus otherwise known as tartar. The plaque and tartar spread under the gums and cause gingivitis — inflammation of the gums. Once under the gums, the supporting tissues that surround the tooth become damaged.  The result of this effect is loss of the tooth or usually multiple teeth. This cycle of events is known as periodontitis.


How often should I have my cat or dog’s teeth cleaned?

Most veterinarians recommend dental cleanings once per year for dogs and cats. However, some breeds may require more frequent professional cleanings. Your veterinarian will run pre-operative bloodwork to make sure your pet is healthy enough to undergo the anesthesia necessary for the procedure. While modern anesthesia is considered very safe, this is a precautionary measure to minimize any risks.

During the cleaning, the veterinary team will monitor your pet’s vital signs to ensure that they are normal. These vitals include respiration rate, heart rate, blood oxygen levels and body temperature.

Your pet’s teeth will be cleaned and polished with professional equipment that smooths the tooth surface, removes tartar and plaque and polishes the teeth. Antibiotics and/or pain medications may be prescribed depending on the extent of disease at the time of cleaning. Once the dental cleaning is complete, your pet will be carefully brought out of anesthesia. Your veterinarian will ensure that your pet has recovered properly before releasing him or her to go home.


What can I do at home?

Daily brushing can help remove food particles from between your pet’s teeth. You can use a finger brush or a child’s toothbrush. You should us pet toothpaste, which comes in flavors such as chicken, seafood, and malt. Avoid human toothpaste.

There are also dental treats that can help keep tartar to a minimum as well as dental diets. The diets tend to have larger kibbles to provide abrasive action against the tooth surface when chewed. Or they may contain ingredients that help prevent tartar mineralization. Ask your veterinarian which are appropriate for your pet.