Just like humans need dental care, so do our pets. The most common condition seen in dogs and cats over 7 years is oral disease. Owners will mostly notice the bad breath, but dental disease is much more serious than that. It can cause severe discomfort and even damage the heart and kidneys. Therefore, dental care is very important for the health and well-being of your animal.
What can you do to prevent oral disease?
Ideally, our pets should get their teeth brushed every day, but as little as twice a week is beneficial. Special toothpastes for dogs and cats are available, which are flavored so your pet should like the taste. Please do not use human toothpaste for your cat or dog as this could upset their stomach. If you have questions about how to brush your pet's teeth, our staff will gladly assist you.
Dental chews can help keep teeth clean and some are formulated to inhibit the formation of plaque and tartar.
Even with good home care, at some point your pet will probably need a professional dental cleaning by your veterinarian. This is basically the same procedure you go through every 6 months, with scaling of the teeth to remove plaque and tartar, and polishing afterward. Unfortunately, for several reasons we have to place your pet under general anesthesia for this procedure, so it is a little more complicated than for us humans. Because of that, we always recommend a preanesthetic blood panel before the procedure (for older dogs pets we require it) to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia.
How often a dental cleaning is needed varies greatly among different animals, depending on the animal itself (some are more prone to problems than others) and the amount of home care you are able to provide. A dental exam is part of every office visit here at Bentley Animal Hospital, and our veterinarians will let you know when a dental cleaning is necessary.