Your dog's oral health both indicates and impacts their overall health! It's important to make sure that your dog's teeth and gums are healthy, and our Laguna Woods vets share some ways to keep your pup's teeth in tip-top condition.
Do dogs really need dental care?
In short: yes! Just like their human companions, a dog’s dental health is closely related to their overall physical health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, as with many domestic pets, dental care often goes neglected. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are common problems for dogs - even for young dogs - and these oral health issues can lead to some pretty dire consequences for the overall health of pets as bacteria from periodontal disease travels through the dog's body. That's why it's important to take these easy steps to keep your pet's mouth healthy.
How can I keep my dog’s teeth clean?
Pet caretakers play a huge part in helping to prevent dental disease in their dogs. Here are some tips for maintaining your dog’s oral health:
- Introduce daily brushing as a part of your dog’s oral health routine. You can use a finger brush or dog-specific toothbrush to remove plaque or debris from your pup's teeth. If your dog isn't a fan of having their teeth brushed, a small amount of flavored canine toothpaste to the brush. The pastes come in a range of flavors to appeal to dogs.
- Use a plaque prevention product (ask your vet for suggestions) that you can apply to your dog's gums and teeth to help prevent buildup between professional cleanings.
- Give your canine companion dental treats, food, or chews designed to help keep plaque buildup and tartar away.
Why does my dog need professional teeth cleaning?
While maintaining an at-home oral care routine is an important step in preventing plaque and tartar buildup, seeing the vet regularly for a professional cleaning is the best way to ensure your dog’s mouth stays clean and healthy.
If an annual dental cleaning is neglected, teeth can become covered with plaque, which can lead to bad breath, gingivitis (and eventually periodontal disease), tooth decay, and tooth loss. This can also have severe consequences for your pup’s overall health, as periodontal disease may lead to heart disease when bacteria enters the bloodstream through the mouth and infect internal organs.
Dental care is an essential element of your pet’s overall physical health and can help to prevent dangerous and costly disease and conditions from arising later on. Schedule your dog’s annual dental appointment today - your pooch (and your pocketbook) will be grateful!
What happens during professional teeth cleaning?
We recommend booking an annual dental checkup for your dog. You may need to bring them in more frequently if they are prone to dental problems.
Your veterinarian will perform an oral health evaluation and look for signs of dental issues, including:
- Plaque or tartar buildup
- Bad breath
- Oral swelling, pain, or bleeding
- Tooth discoloration
- Loose or broken teeth
- Extra teeth retained puppy teeth
You can also take this chance to inform your vet if you’ve noticed any symptoms like drooling, dropping food from the mouth, reduced appetite (which could indicate your dog is experiencing pain in their teeth), or abnormal chewing.
Your vet will also decide whether your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia, then perform any additional diagnostic tests or procedures. Once we have safely anesthetized your pet, we complete a full oral exam and chart each tooth.
While they are comfortably under anesthesia, your dog's teeth will be cleaned and polished above and below the gumline. The vet will probe and radiograph each tooth and then apply a fluoride treatment before using a dental sealant to prevent plaque from easily attaching. If we find advanced periodontal disease, your vet will develop a custom treatment plan to help restore your pet's oral health.