February is National Pet Dental Month!
Proper dental care is an important aspect of our pet’s overall health and well-being. Gingivitis, resorptive lesions, and missing or fractured teeth are common causes of inappetence, pain, and bad breath in our pets. A study by the American Veterinary Dental Society showed that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats had developed periodontal disease by 3 years of age, making dental disease the most prevalent disease in companion animals.
Identifying the Problem
During wellness exams, your veterinarian will examine your pet’s teeth and identify any concerns that may be addressed at home or with a more thorough exam during a dental cleaning to get rid of plaque and calculus. For a safe and thorough dental cleaning, anesthesia is essential to allow for a complete oral exam, oral radiographs, scaling beneath the gumline, and polishing. We will take radiographs of all of the teeth to identify any concerns that cannot be seen above the gumline. Based on the veterinarian’s findings, some teeth may need to be extracted to improve the overall health of your pet’s mouth.
Chewing is a good way to prevent dental disease
Rawhide products and chew treats can be helpful if chewed daily. Some rawhide chews and biscuits contain an anti-tartar ingredient. Palatability is important – chewing every day is the ideal. For rawhides- give them to your pet for ~15 minutes and take it away- once the rawhide is soft it’s no longer doing any good. You can replace it with a new one/dry one and give them another ~15 minutes (amount of time depends on the dog)
We do not recommend cow hooves, dried natural bones or hard nylon products because they are too hard and do not mimic the effect of a dog tearing meat off a carcass. These hard products are associated with broken teeth or damaged gums.
Pet dogs should be monitored while chewing a chew treat or toy, as they may swallow large pieces, leading to a variety of digestive system disorders.
What You Can Do
Brushing your pet’s teeth as regularly as possible is the best way to promote a healthy mouth. Visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website to learn more about at-home care and see a video on how to brush your pet’s teeth!