Some people think “dog breath” is just a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be! Proper dental care can go a long way to helping your dog (or cat) live a long and healthy life. Dental disease in pets can be painful, decreasing their quality of life, and even their over-all health. Bad teeth can also be a sign of other health issues, where early intervention can make all the difference. At Gardiner Park Animal Hospital, we are happy to offer full-service dental cleaning procedures for dogs and cats, including scaling, polishing, and the extraction of rotten/damaged teeth (all done under a general anesthetic, for your pet’s comfort.)
Curious about your pet’s dental health and wondering what to watch for? Here are some tips:
If you have noticed that your pet’s breath is bad – more than the usual kibble-breath, of course – it could be a sign of gum disease and tooth decay.
Signs of Pain
If your pet is having trouble eating, rubbing at his/her face, reluctant to chew, or even if they just seem “off” – lethargic, reluctant to play ect – they could be experiencing mouth or tooth pain. These symptoms could also be a sign of other physical ailments, so it’s important to bring them to the attention of your veterinarian whenever you have concerns.
Tartar and Gingivitis
A healthy mouth has clean teeth and pink gums. If you notice reddened gums, bleeding gums, discoloured, broken, or loose teeth in your pet’s mouth, it could be time for them to have a dental cleaning.
But what if my pet already has healthy teeth?
Great! Here are some things you can do at home to help them stay that way:
While it’s not always practical, and some pets won’t tolerate it, but it IS possible. With the aid of a finger toothbrush, a pet-safe toothpaste, and some tenacity, you can brush your pet’s teeth.
Encourage pets to chew whenever possible (appropriate items, of course!). Even a small dog can tackle a mighty bone, just be sure it’s not one that might splinter in their mouths (like cooked bones are particularly prone to do) and always supervise while chewing. You can also offer a hard food with a large kibble, one that will scrape on the sides of teeth to remove plaque and tartar. Always feel free to ask the staff at the veterinary office for recommendations!
Your veterinarian will check your pet’s teeth during their annual health exam (usually at the time of their vaccinations) but if, at any other point, you are concerned about your pet’s dental health, an appointment with the Doctor is just a phone call away.