Any person who has suffered from a toothache understands the importance of dental care for overall comfort and health. The same goes for your pet. Without proper oral hygiene, your furry friend can experience the agony of a toothache, and much worse. As most pets—up to 85%—have some form of dental disease by age 3, there’s a high chance that your four-legged pal is silently suffering. Only hours after your pet eats, bacteria-laden plaque begins to form a sticky film on her teeth that eventually hardens into cement-like tartar, which is impossible to remove without toothbrushing. If plaque and tartar are not removed, oral bacteria can move into your pet’s bloodstream, creating a systemic infection, and harming the heart, liver, and kidneys. Since skipping your furry friend’s dental care has such severe consequences, let’s brush up on how we can work as a team to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.
How you can care for your pet’s teeth at home
As soon as you welcome a pet into your home, you should implement a dental-health routine, no matter her age. Follow these three methods to battle your four-legged friend’s plaque and tartar on a daily basis to ensure her teeth remain healthy:
- Create a toothbrushing schedule — The best at-home dental care you can give your pet is brushing her teeth regularly—ideally daily, but a minimum of three times per week. Most pets will be unsure about this unfamiliar activity in the beginning, so start slowly, and offer plenty of rewards. Choose a pet-friendly toothpaste in your pet’s favorite flavor—beef, chicken, and seafood are a few options. Gradually introduce toothpaste on your finger to demonstrate to your pet that this is a great activity with tasty rewards. Once your pet is accustomed to the toothpaste on your finger, use a toothbrush to reach further into the back of the mouth. After your pet realizes this daily task is fun, she may bring you her toothbrush herself so you don’t forget.
- Supplement toothbrushing with dental-health products — If you forget to brush your pet’s teeth one day, or she simply won’t allow it, you can still care for her dental health with dental treats, chews, prescription diets, wipes, rinses, and supplements that will all work hard, although they can never replace the benefit of brushing. Ensure that you look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s seal of approval on your purchase, as only those products are guaranteed to effectively slow plaque and tartar accumulation.
- Monitor your pet’s mouth for dental-disease signs — You are your pet’s first line of defense for her dental health. Daily brushing, or at least peeking under a lifted lip, will ensure you notice the first dental-disease signs. If you note gingivitis, bad breath, or tooth discoloration, give us a call to schedule a dental exam.
How Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center at Willis cares for your pet’s teeth
Although you are a dedicated pet owner, dental disease is too tough to tackle on your own. That’s why you need our team of highly skilled dental experts to provide these dental services to your best friend:
- Digital dental X-rays — As much as 60% of each tooth lies beneath the gumline, hiding potential periodontal problems. With full-mouth dental X-rays, we can detect bone loss, tooth-root fragments, abscessed teeth, and broken teeth that we may otherwise miss. Dental X-rays allow us to thoroughly examine your pet’s oral-health status, and form the proper treatment plan.
- Dental cleanings — Despite the best toothbrushing routine, a toothbrush simply can’t clean below the gumline like we can when your pet is anesthetized. Using special dental instruments designed to remove plaque and tartar, without harming your pet’s gingival tissue, we clean each tooth from root to crown. Then, after removing all traces of oral bacteria, we polish away tiny imperfections in the enamel, and apply a fluoride treatment to strengthen the teeth.
- Dental surgery — With our team’s extensive training in advanced dental procedures, we routinely accept referrals from other area hospitals that want to ensure their patients receive the best possible dental care. If your pet needs extractions or other oral surgery, rest assured that we have the skills and knowledge to perform each procedure safely.
- Follow-up dental exams — After your pet’s dental procedure, we offer free follow-up exams to discuss next steps. Take advantage of your furry friend’s clean slate by continuing your home-care regimen, including toothbrushing, diet choice, and dental-health products, which is essential to slow the return of tartar, and to help maintain your pet’s good oral health.
- Dental service discounts — Since February is National Pet Dental Health Month, we are celebrating good dental care all month-long with a discount. For dental services scheduled in February, we are offering a 10% discount to help you keep your pet’s smile shining and healthy.
Are you interested in taking advantage of our National Pet Dental Health Month celebration? Call our office to schedule your pet’s dental care and receive our dental discount.