We all know the importance of maintaining regular dental hygiene, preventative exams, and dental treatment as needed for yourself and your immediate family. Following the same basic rules we apply to ourselves will insure the dental wellness our precious pets deserve.
If you want to help your dog or cat stay as healthy as possible, you need to understand their potential for dental issues and do what you can to prevent those issues from occurring. Start by getting acquainted with — and adhering to — the following four dental wellness tips.
1. Schedule Regular Dental Checkups
Pets and humans both face the same basic risks for dental problems, most notably periodontal disease. Periodontal disease occurs in pets whose teeth accumulate plaque — a blend of saliva and food — which hardens into tartar. Bacteria attracted to the plaque trigger inflammation that can eventually destroy the gum tissues.
Both periodontal disease and bacterial infiltration in broken teeth can lead to serious infections. The bacteria may rot the pulp inside the teeth, create painful jaw abscesses, and then move into your pets. bloodstream and organs. At 1st Pet, with regular checkups, we can catch these problems early enough to remove these pet health risks.
Dental exams can also catch oral cancer in its early stages. This potentially fatal disease can grow quickly, even though owners may not see any evidence of it. A comprehensive dental examination can spot hard-to-see lesions in time for surgery or other treatments to prove successful.
For the majority of cats and dogs, a yearly exam should suffice. However, if your pet faces elevated risks for dental problems or has entered its senior years, we recommend exams every six months.
2. Choose Deep Cleaning Under Anesthesia
The prospect of subjecting a pet to general anesthesia troubles some pet owners due to the small but undeniable risks posed by these drugs. However, you shouldn’t let any reservations about anesthesia tempt you into scheduling anesthesia-free dental cleanings for your pet, since this alternative doesn’t permit the necessary thoroughness.
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends dental cleaning under anesthesia as a general rule. The anesthesia gives your vet free reign to remove tartar below the gum line with dental tools while your pet remains comfortable and still. Non-anesthesia cleanings can only remove tartar above the gum line.
3. Know the Signs of Dental Problems
You don’t have to wait for your pet’s next scheduled dental exam to address a potential dental problem. The earlier you can recognize such problems and get them attended to by your vet, the lower the odds that those problems will develop into full-blown infections, growths, or other dangerous situations.
Get into the habit of inspecting your pet’s teeth, gums, and oral cavity from time to time. Look for trouble signs such as bad breath; broken teeth; bleeding, swollen or reddened gums; or a new lump anywhere in the mouth. Watch for signs of discomfort such as pawing at the face, or facial changes such as swelling beneath the eye.
4. Practice Smart Home Dental Hygiene
Just as you reduce your own risk for dental problems through regular brushing and flossing, you can maintain your pet’s dental wellness between veterinary appointments through regular dental hygiene. Your veterinarian can guide you on how to select the right toothpaste and brush for gentle, effective pet tooth brushing.
Some pets may benefit from alternatives or supplements to tooth brushing, especially if they haven’t grown accustomed to brushing and/or you find brushing physically difficult to perform correctly. Your veterinarian can recommend oral rinses and wipes to help combat oral plaque and bacteria.
The right foods and treats can also aid dental wellness. Look for pet foods specially formulated to reduce plaque and tartar, along with pet chews that can remove plaque without harming your pet’s teeth.
1st Pet Veterinary Centers can provide your pet with a lifetime of high-quality dental evaluations and treatments. Contact any of our locations today to schedule a dental exam and cleaning or simply learn more about this branch of our veterinary health and wellness services. We are always here to help.