Tooth decay and gum disease can be problematic for dogs as much as for humans. Today, our Franklin vets explain how to clean a dog's mouth and keep their teeth in tip-top condition.
Does my dog really need dental care?
Your dog's oral health is an essential part of their overall well-being. Dogs can begin showing signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) by the time they reach about 3 years of age. Early, untreated signs of dental disease can have serious negative consequences for their long-term health.
In humans, research has shown a link between periodontal disease and heart disease; this appears to hold true for our pets as well.
The link between heart disease and periodontal disease in dogs is caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function and potentially affecting other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.
At-home oral health care routines paired with dental treats can go a long way to helping your pooch keep their teeth clean and control the buildup of plaque and tartar. Nonetheless, the best way to ensure that your pup’s mouth stays clean and healthy is to take your dog to the vet for an annual dental exam and hygiene cleaning.
Neglecting annual professional cleaning could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay and tooth loss.
What are the risks of dog teeth cleaning?
Any procedure performed under anesthesia comes with risks, which is why our vets assess all pets to ensure that they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia. We also perform any additional diagnostic testing if required to make sure that a dental exam under anesthesia is safe for your pet.
What happens at my dog's dental cleaning appointment?
To help prevent your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease, our Franklin vets at Advanced Veterinary Care recommend bringing your dog in for a dental appointment at least once each year, or more frequently if they are suffering from more severe or recurring dental problems.
When you bring your dog to Advanced Veterinary Care for a dental checkup our vets will perform a full oral examination for your pooch and check for signs of dental issues, such as:
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or
- Broken teeth
- Bad breath
If you notice signs of gum disease in your dog like reduced appetite (which can be indicative of tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath or other symptoms be sure to contact your vet right away to schedule a dental appointment for your pet. Oral health issues can become severe if left untreated and cause your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Once your pet is safely under sedation, we examine each of your dog's teeth, complete with charting (just like your dentist does during your examinations).
While we have your dog safely and comfortably under anesthesia, we will thoroughly clean and polish your pup's teeth, both above and below the gum line. We probe and x-ray the teeth, then to help protect against future decay and damage we use a fluoride treatment before applying a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.
If your pooch is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a pain-free and healthy state.
How long does it take for a dog to recover from teeth cleaning?
All dogs are unique, but you can expect your pooch to start recovering from the anesthetic within a few hours, although in some cases it can take 24-48 hours to get fully back to normal. During this time, your dog might seem drowsy and have a reduced appetite.
How much does dog teeth cleaning cost?
The cost of dog dental cleaning varies widely due to a number of factors including the size of your dog, the condition of your dog's teeth, where you live, and your individual vet. Get in touch with your vet to get an estimate for having your dog's teeth cleaned.
With cost in mind, it's important for dog owners to remember that more invasive and expensive procedures - and surgeries - can potentially be avoided with regular veterinary dental care. Regular care will allow your vet to take proactive steps to help avoid advanced tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to pain, tooth loss, and jaw deterioration.
Should I clean my dog's teeth?
As a pet owner, you play an essential role in helping your dog fight dental disease. Here are a few easy ways that you can help to keep your dog's mouth healthy and how to clean your dog's teeth:
- Use a finger brush from your vet or a child’s toothbrush to clean your pet’s teeth daily to remove any plaque or debris. It's as easy to do as brushing your own teeth. If your dog resists having their teeth cleaned try some doggie toothpaste in flavors your pooch will find irresistible. These special kinds of toothpaste can turn a chore into a treat.
- Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
- Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.
Dental care is an important part of your pet's health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment if you haven't yet.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.