Did you know, over 50% of all dogs and cats have some form of periodontal disease by the time they three years old? Over time, periodontal disease can progress to painful bone loss (shown in the picture), and can even result in bacterial translocation (absorption into the bloodstream), which can affect important internal organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Brushing your pet's teeth daily is important to prevent progression of periodontal disease. Starting this process in a slow manner is important, and is even easier when started at a young age.
Brushing your dog's teeth:
Start by offering them the toothbrush in a "reward" fashion: place dog-safe toothpaste on the brush, then offer it to them as a treat, praising them when they lick or put it in their mouth. Repeat this daily for one week (or until they are comfortable with this).
Next, transition to placing the brush with toothpaste briefly under their lips on their gums, then letting them lick the toothpaste, again praising them. Repeat this daily for one week.
The next step is starting the "brushing" motion on their teeth.
Continue this slow progression daily, using lots of positive reinforcement, and eventually your pet will consider brushing part of their daily routine.
Click HERE for a video on this process.
Disclaimer: In the video, they tell you to offer lots of treats after brushing. In the beginning, this is helpful. Once you are able to fully brush your dog's teeth, however, it is best for them to avoid eating and drinking immediately afterwards to allow the enzymatic toothpaste to break down additional plaque build-up.
For additional information on brushing cat's teeth, click HERE
Signs your pet may need an in-clinic cleaning:
Bad breath (called halitosis)
Avoidance of hard foods, bones, or carrying toys in mouth
Bleeding gums or blood found on chew toys or bowls
Oral disease found on veterinary examination
Thorough dental cleanings are usually necessary at least once, if not more, in a pet's lifetime. This requires general anesthesia, as this allows us to access all parts of the teeth, clean underneath the gum line, and protect their airway. All teeth are scaled with an ultra-sonic scaler and polished, and more advanced disease is addressed as needed.
If dental problems are identified, either prior to anesthesia or while your pet is asleep, we can perform most oral surgeries in house, including major extractions.
We are excited to announce that we will soon offer dental x-rays to further assist in dental assessments and surgeries! In the meantime, depending on the type of surgery required, we may recommend referral to a facility that offers dental x-rays.