Tooth decay and gum disease are as common in dogs as they are in people, and just as painful. That's why caring for your dog's teeth is an important element of caring for your pup's overall health. Here, our Rabun County vets explain how to clean a dog's mouth and keep your pup's teeth in great condition.
Is dog dental care really necessary?
The oral health of your dog is crucial to their overall well-being. By the time they reach the age of three, dogs are often showing signs of periodontal disease (gum disease). This early onset of dental disease can have serious long-term health consequences for them.
Studies have found a link between periodontal disease and heart disease in humans, and it appears that the same is true for our pets.
In dogs, the link between heart disease and periodontal disease is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream through the mouth, causing damage to the heart and other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problems of gum disease and missing or damaged teeth, which cause pain.
Dental treats and at-home oral health care routines can go a long way toward helping your dog keep their teeth clean and control plaque and tartar buildup. Nonetheless, taking your dog to the vet for an annual dental exam and hygiene cleaning is the best way to ensure that his mouth stays clean and healthy.
Neglecting annual dental 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 involving anesthesia carries risks, which is why our veterinarians examine all pets to ensure that they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia and, if necessary, perform additional diagnostics to ensure that a dental exam while anesthetized is safe for your pet.
What will happen during my dog's dental cleaning appointment?
To help prevent your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease, our Rabun County vets at Rabun Animal Hospital 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 Rabun Animal Hospital 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 periodontal disease in your pet, such as a decreased appetite (which could indicate tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath, or other symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away to schedule a dental exam. If left untreated, oral health problems can become severe, causing your pet a lot of pain and discomfort.
Your veterinarian will perform a full tooth-by-tooth examination, complete with charting, after your pet has been safely sedated (just like your dentist does during your examinations).
We will thoroughly clean and polish your dog's teeth, both above and below the gum line, while he is safely and comfortably anesthetized. We probe and x-ray the teeth, then use a fluoride treatment to help prevent future decay and damage, followed by 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?
Although every dog is different, you can expect your dog to start recovering from the anesthetic within a few hours, though it may take up to 48 hours in some cases. Your dog may appear drowsy and have a decreased appetite during this time.
How much does dog teeth cleaning cost?
The cost of dog dental cleaning varies greatly depending on several factors, including your dog's size, the condition of his teeth, where you live, and your veterinarian. To get an accurate estimate for having your dog's teeth cleaned, contact your veterinarian.
However, with regular veterinary dental care, more invasive and costly procedures - and surgeries - could be avoided. Regular dental care will enable your veterinarian to prevent advanced tooth decay and gum disease, which can result in pain, tooth loss, and jaw deterioration.
Should I brush my dog's teeth?
You play a critical role in helping your dog fight dental disease as a pet owner. Here are a few simple ways to help your dog's mouth stay healthy and how to brush your dog's teeth:
- Brush your pet's teeth daily with a finger brush from your vet or a child's toothbrush to remove any plaque or debris. It's as straightforward as brushing your teeth. If your dog is resistant to having its teeth cleaned, try some doggie toothpaste with flavors that your dog will love. These dog-friendly toothpaste can turn a chore into a fun experience.
- 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 overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment today, your dog will thank you.
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.