Your dog's oral health impacts their overall health, that's why it's important to ensure that your dog's teeth and gums are clean and healthy. Here our Richmond vets share some ways to keep your pup's teeth in tip-top condition.
Why should I worry about my dog's teeth?
Just like their human’s, a dog’s dental health is closely related to their overall physical health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, periodontal disease and tooth decay are common problems for dogs - even for young dogs. These oral health issues can lead to some pretty dire consequences for the overall health of pets as bacteria from periodontal disease travels through the dog's body. That's why it's important to take these easy steps to keep your pet's mouth healthy.
How can I keep my dog’s teeth clean?
Pooch parents play an important role in helping their dogs fight the battle against dental disease. Here are some tips for maintaining your dog’s oral health:
- Make daily brushing a part of your dog’s oral health routine. Use a finger brush or dog-specific toothbrush to remove any plaque or debris from your pup's teeth. If your dog isn't a fan of having their teeth brushed it may help to apply a small amount of canine toothpaste to the brush. These products come in a range of flavors your pooch will love.
- Use a plaque prevention product (ask your vet for trustworthy recommendations) that you can apply to your pet’s gums and teeth. These products help prevent plaque buildup between professional cleanings.
- Give your canine companion dental treats, food or chews designed to help keep plaque buildup and tartar away.
Why does my dog need professional teeth cleaning?
While maintaining an at-home oral care routine (and potentially supplementing it with dental chews or treats) is an important step in preventing plaque and tartar buildup, seeing the vet regularly for a professional cleaning is the best way to ensure your dog’s mouth stays clean and healthy.
Without this annual cleaning, teeth can become covered with plaque, which can lead to bad breath, gingivitis and eventually periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. This can also have severe consequences for your pup’s overall health, as periodontal disease may lead to heart disease (when bacteria enters the bloodstream through the mouth, it can infect other organs).
Dental care is an essential element of your pet’s overall physical health. Schedule your dog’s annual dental appointment today - your pooch will be grateful!
What happens during professional teeth cleaning?
We recommend booking an annual dental checkup for your dog. You may need to bring them in more frequently if they are prone to dental problems.
Your veterinarian will perform an oral health evaluation, looking for signs of dental problems, including:
- Plaque or tartar buildup
- Bad breath
- Swelling, pain, or bleeding in or around the mouth
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or baby teeth that have been retained
You can also take this opportunity to let your vet know if you’ve noticed any symptoms such as drooling, dropping food from the mouth, reduced appetite (which could indicate your dog is experiencing pain in his teeth), or abnormal chewing.
Your vet will also determine whether your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia, then perform additional diagnostics if required. Once we have safely anesthetized your pet, we complete a full oral exam (tooth-by-tooth) and charting.
While they are safely under anesthesia, their teeth will be cleaned and polished (in addition to their gum line). The vet will probe and radiograph each tooth, then apply a fluoride treatment before using a dental sealant to fight plaque. If we find advanced periodontal disease, a custom treatment plan to help restore your pet's good oral health.