Dental Care for Dogs
Why is oral health important?
Oral health is important because it affects the overall health of your pet. When an overgrowth of bacteria occurs, it causes gingivitis and can affect your pet’s heart, kidneys, and liver. However, this can all be prevented with good oral hygiene.
Consequences of Periodontal Disease in Pets
Although bad breath is commonly the main concern of owners, this is often the least concerning consequence of poor oral health. Once tartar has accumulated on the teeth, the gums become irritated. This leads to bleeding and oral pain, which can then cause a loss of appetite and discomfort to your pet. The roots of the teeth will become affected, causing the tooth to fall out, or an abscess to form around the root. Both can cause extreme discomfort to your pet. Poor oral hygiene can also cause systemic disease such as bacteremia; this occurs when bacteria surrounding the roots gain access to the bloodstream and can lead to damage of organs such as the kidney, heart, and liver.
What can I do at home for my pet’s oral health?
The gold standard of at-home oral health care is the daily brushing of your pet’s teeth, as it prevents the build of up plaque that forms tartar. We understand that daily brushing is not always possible, therefore brushing the teeth even several times a week will help decrease the rate at which tartar will build.
Other options include water additives, dental treats, dental diets and dental wipes. However, be cautious as many pet products may claim they improve oral health, but are not effective. Look for the VOHC seal. Talk with your veterinarian technician about any dental products you’re considering for your pet.
What about “anesthesia-free” dental cleanings?
The American Veterinary Dental College does not recommend anesthesia-free dental cleanings, this is because those performing them are not trained professionals and they do not do cleaning or inspection below the gum line, where the most dental disease occurs.