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Appointments Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital 860-669-5721

Dental Health for Your Pet

Dental health is extremely important!  Dental problems can cause other health issues or be caused by underlying diseases. This is why having a yearly check-up for your pet is important. Your pet’s mouth, gums and teeth will be checked for early signs of dental issues.
Oral Health:
As your pet ages, periodontal disease can develop, and most times pet owners are not aware of this. If you notice any of the signs listed below, have your pet’s mouth checked. Potential oral problems include:
1. Broken or fractured teeth
2. Malodorous breath (bad breath)
3. Red or inflamed gums
4. Retained baby teeth
5. Swelling around the mouth
6. Decreased appetite
These can all be indicators of underlying periodontal disease and should be addressed sooner rather than later. Pets can develop some of the same issues that humans can get. We see gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), broken teeth, cysts or tumors, abscesses and much more. Periodontal disease is very common in pets and can develop at any age. Plaque can form on the surface of the teeth and this can harden into tartar–the cement-like material you can visually see on your dog’s teeth. The plaque that’s visible on the teeth can easily be removed, but its the plaque beneath the gum-line that can be concerning. This can lead to infection that can cause bone loss and tissue loss around those areas. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale from 0 (lowest) to 4 (highest).  Its important to treat periodontal disease because it doesn’t just effect your pet’s mouth, it can have an effect on your pet’s heart, kidneys and liver. The treatment of periodontal disease is a thorough scaling of the teeth and may require dental x-rays. Also, some dental issues like severe fractures of teeth or the jaw bones, misalignment of the jaw, etc may need a visit to a specialized dentist for correction.
Dental Cleanings:
Now you may realize why dental cleanings are so important to your pet’s health, but you may be wondering why does this procedure require anesthesia? As humans, when we go to the dentist we know why and what’s going to happen. We understand the importance of the visit. Our pets do not understand the procedures or know to sit still or not bite when someone is placing their hand or tools in their mouth. In order to make this procedure as stress-free, painless,  and safe as possible anesthesia is required. Anesthesia allows your pet’s mouth to be thoroughly cleaned and assessed. Although anesthesia will always have risks, it’s safer now more than ever due to the equipment and monitoring used and in the end is the best way to clean your pet’s teeth. The benefits for your dog’s overall health, far outweigh the risks.
Dental Health at home:
How can I help my pet’s oral health at home? Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth at home allows manual removal of plaque that can form into tartar. This is the single most effective thing that you as pet owners can do to help prevent periodontal disease! Daily brushing is best, but life can get busy, so even brushing your pet’s teeth twice weekly is still beneficial. Brushing can reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for dental cleanings. Start when your pet is young and train them to accept the teeth brushing.
Here is a video below demonstrating how to brush your pet’s teeth at home! Keep it positive, keep it routine and keep your pet’s mouth healthy!
Dental Month:
February is National Dental Month, so mark your calendars and bring your dogs and cats into us for a full mouth assessment in January. The dental consult itself is at no cost in the month of January, and we can get your pet scheduled for its cleaning in February. All the dental procedures are 10% off! This is a great time to make sure your pet has a thorough dental cleaning and his/her mouth is as healthy as it can be. Call us to schedule your pet’s dental assessment today!