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Importance of Pet Dental Care


Dental care in our pets is an issue often over looked.  Dental disease is a serious problem caused by the accumulation of tarter and plaque on the teeth. Tarter is composed of various mineral salts, organic materials and food particles. In the early stages of accumulation the material is soft (plaque), but it later hardens and adheres to teeth. Continual accumulation promotes bacterial growth and inflammation resulting in tooth, gum and bone disease.Untreated tooth and gum disease may allow bacteria to enter the blood stream and cause serious damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs, and valves of the heart. Many times our pets do not show us obvious symptoms of dental disease.  Bad breath, red swollen gums, drooling and problems eating are some signs you may notice. Veterinarians check the mouth for signs of dental disease during routine exams. You can lift a lip and look for these signs of dental disease yourself and then have it checked out at your vets office for advice on how to treat and prevent these problems.

If it is found that your pet needs a dental prophylaxis your pet will be placed under general anesthesia. The tarter will be removed using an ultrasonic scaler and hand scaling instruments like you dentist or hygienist would use. Damaged or infected teeth will be removed or repaired as necessary.  Your pet may need antibiotics for a few days after the procedure.

Once your pet’s teeth are cleaned and treated, home preventative care is an important step to help reduce the rate at which plaque and tarter accumulates in the future.  Daily brushing of teeth with a pet formulated toothpaste is ideal.  There are also many oral gels, sprays and rinses available.  Dental treats, hard food, rawhide chews can all help. Be sure to count all treats given towards your pets total calories for the day.