When your pet welcomes you home with a slobbery kiss, do you shudder in horror at the stench? While breath with a slight doggy odor is normal, breath that stops you in your tracks can signal a serious dental problem. Bad breath is only one indicator of poor oral health in your pet. Other signs include:
- Brown or yellow tartar buildup
- Cracked or broken teeth
- Bleeding gums
- Loose or missing teeth
- Lumps or bumps on the tongue, around the teeth, or growing on the gums
- Receding gums
Your pet may also paw at her mouth, drop food when eating, chew on one side of her mouth, or avoid eating hard foods if she’s suffering from dental disease. Fortunately for your furry friend, you can halt oral bacteria in its tracks before it progresses to painful dental disease.
Veterinary dental care for your pet
As with all aspects of your pet’s well-being and health care, we don’t expect you to do it all on your own. We love providing dental services to pets, especially since we can see how oral health care makes our furry patients so much happier and more comfortable. When your pet visits our hospital for a dental procedure, she will receive top-of-the-line care, including the following services:
- Oral exam — In addition to a thorough physical exam, we focus on your pet’s oral cavity, searching for potential problems that need addressing. Some pets do not let us take a good look, but we can at least get a rough idea of their mouth’s health status to help guide our treatment plan.
- Pre-anesthetic blood work — Before we place any pet under anesthesia, we perform pre-anesthetic blood work. Although we highly recommend getting your pet’s teeth cleaned from a young age to prevent painful dental disease, many of our dental patients are older and have underlying organ dysfunction. To ensure your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia, we run a complete blood panel to check for signs of anemia, infection, dehydration, or organ-function issues.
- Tailored anesthetic protocol — After we evaluate your pet’s blood work results, we will create an anesthetic protocol tailored to her specific needs that will include pain medication, a sedative, and anesthetic induction agents based on her health status, organ function, and dental needs. We will place an IV catheter to maintain her blood pressure through fluid administration, and give her pain medications and antibiotics as needed.
- Digital dental X-rays — Without dental X-rays, we would miss a large portion of hidden periodontal problems. As much as 60% of each tooth lies out of sight beneath the gumline, making it difficult to spot bone loss, retained root fragments, infection pockets, or resorptive disease issues. X-rays of your pet’s entire mouth help ensure we find and address each potential problem, while your furry friend is comfortably asleep.
- Dental charting and periodontal probing — In addition to taking dental X-rays, we examine each tooth and search for gingival pockets that indicate a hidden issue. We note diseased teeth that need to be addressed immediately, and record potential future problems that we will need to monitor.
- Teeth scaling and polishing — Once we’ve evaluated your pet’s entire oral cavity, we scale away plaque and tartar, above and below the gumline, and then polish away tiny imperfections in the enamel.
- Fluoride treatment — As the final step, we apply a fluoride treatment designed to strengthen your pet’s tooth enamel to protect against future dental issues.
Home dental care for your pet
A solid at-home dental-care routine is a vital part of your pet’s overall wellness plan. In fact, it’s one of the top ways you can keep your best friend healthy.
- Toothbrushing regimen — Establishing a toothbrushing regimen is the best way to keep your furry friend’s teeth healthy at home. Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth daily, but try for a minimum of three times per week. Plaque quickly forms a sticky film on teeth, so frequent toothbrushing is essential to scrub away this layer before it turns into tartar, which is much more difficult to remove.
- Approved dental products — Round out your pet’s home-care dental routine with products guaranteed to slow plaque and tartar growth. Not all dental products can back up their claims to benefit pets’ oral health, so ensure you choose products with the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s (VOHC) seal of approval. The VOHC grants its approval only to dental treats, chews, diets, wipes, rinses, and additives that meet its plaque- and tartar-prevention standards.
Are you ready to enjoy your four-legged friend’s kisses again? Give us a call to schedule your pet’s dental cleaning, and make that stinky mouth kissably fresh again.