Open Wide: Supporting Pet Dental Health at Home and at our Hospital
If you had to choose between taking a shower every day or brushing your teeth, would you vote for a clean mouth? To be sure, there’s nothing better than that fresh feeling, but have you ever skipped a day, week, month, or longer? Probably not. If it’s unacceptable for us, then it makes sense for pet dental health to take its turn in the spotlight.
The Grim Truth
The majority of pets over the age of three have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. This is due to a persistent lack of brushing at home, as well as a lack of regular professional cleanings. The risks of periodontal disease go far beyond the mouth; oral bacteria can find its way to the heart, liver, and kidneys, causing major illness (not to mention the associated pain and diminished quality of life).
The good news is that poor pet dental health is 100% preventable!
Purchasing a pet toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste is a good start. Many pet owners do this early on, only to “save it for a rainy day” that never arrived. We understand brushing your pet’s teeth at home can feel daunting, but with patience, determination, and love, your pet will benefit from your efforts.
It’s a good idea to pair teeth brushing with a positive experience like grooming. Reward your pet with praise, snuggles, and exercise afterward. Do this every day or at least a few times a week to really keep plaque and tartar at bay.
Pets also seem to enjoy chewing on dental toys that help remove plaque before it calcifies, turning into tartar. We’re happy to discuss dental diets, treats, and even water additives that may benefit your pet.
Another Reason for Wellness
Aside from all the other wonderful benefits of yearly or bi-annual wellness exams, we value the opportunity to closely assess pet dental health. A peek under the lip, inside the mouth, and around the gums can give us a head start in determining oral health.
What to Expect
We may recommend a professional dental cleaning under anesthesia. This is the best way to clean an animal’s teeth, and we take every step to ensure your pet’s safety before, during, and after the procedure.
While under anesthesia, we take digital x-rays to see exactly what’s going on beneath the gums. Without this important tool, we can only address problems on the surface of the teeth, which represent only a small percentage of overall pet dental health.
A simple cleaning will involve measuring any pockets between the gums and teeth, scaling, polishing, and possibly adding an antibiotic treatment.
Other pet dental procedures can be more complicated with additional recovery methods at home.
Importance of Pet Dental Health
Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital:
Where big city medicine and surgery meet small town customer service and value.