The Benefits of Improving Your Pet’s Dental Health

iStock_000009963933_LargeYour pet’s overall wellness hinges on proper nutrition, regular exercise, and…stringent dental care? Indeed, the state of your pet’s dental health greatly affects well being but hasn’t always been a top priority – until now!

Modern veterinary research and advances in pet dental care allow us great insight into your pet’s general health and his or her longevity. If you’ve been questioning your pet’s dental health, we are here to help you get started. Doing so may extend your pet’s life by two years!

Sink Those Teeth In

Dental disease is just as common in pets as it is in people. Tartar, the mineral that builds up on the gum line, is typically brown or yellow, and creates a surface on which plaque can thrive. This may seem innocuous until you consider the bacteria that live in plaque. Responsible for irritation and eventually infection, tartar and plaque buildup also cause:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Bleeding or irritated gums
  • Pain or chewing difficulty
  • Loss of appetite or change in preference from dry to wet food
  • Dropping food
  • Broken, discolored, loose, or missing teeth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing at the face
  • Infection in the bloodstream resulting in damage to internal organs

The only way to stop this destructive process is to brush your pet’s teeth regularly and schedule annual dental cleanings. Left untreated, your pet may require emergency care or costly corrective treatments.

Supporting Your Pet’s Dental Health

Taking an active role in your pet’s dental care supports his or her overall health. We recommend the following at-home tactics:

  • Daily brushing – While we know this can be tough, it’s important. Offer lots of praise during the process, and try to make the experience as positive as possible. Let us know if you need any tips on how to brush your pet’s teeth.
  • The right stuff – Purchase pet-specific toothpaste (yum, chicken liver flavor!) and an appropriately sized toothbrush to scrub plaque away. While there are a variety of products on the market, we advise purchasing items that have been awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval.
  • Pet food differences – Depending on your pet, we may recommend a certain type of food, such as Hill’s Prescription Diet t/d, which is formulated to support your pet’s dental health. Remember, it’s important to consult us before changing your pet’s diet.

How We Can Help

An oral exam is a critical part of your pet’s regular wellness visit, but it’s often too difficult to get a full picture of your pet’s dental health while he or she is awake. If we notice excessive tartar and plaque, a professional dental cleaning is highly recommended. The frequency of this type of procedure depends on your pet’s dental health, and we’ll work closely with you to provide supportive treatments.

While you may be hesitant to place your pet under general anesthesia, we are committed to his or her safety and comfort throughout the entire dental cleaning procedure. It may also be necessary to take dental x-rays while your pet is under anesthesia since approximately half of all dental disease occurs below the gum line.

Promoting Your Pet’s Dental Health

Your pet deserves a high level of attention in all the departments that truly make him or her thrive: good food, exercise, grooming, playing, and dental care. We remain dedicated to all aspects of your pet’s wellness and look forward to discussing your pet’s dental health. Please contact us with any questions or concerns. Happy brushing!

posted in:  Pet Health