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Healthy Pet Care Tips

Dog Dental Care: How to Care For Your Dog's Teeth

Your pup's oral health impacts their overall health. That is why it's key that you help to ensure your dog's teeth and gums remain clean and healthy. Here, our PetVet Care Centers member vets share some of the ways you can help to keep your pup's mouth in good condition. 

Why should I worry about my dog's teeth?

Just like human teeth, your pup's dental health is really closely intertwined with their overall physical health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, periodontal disease and tooth decay can be quite common in dogs, even younger dogs, These oral health issues can cause some pretty dire consequences to develop since bacteria can travel from your pup's mouth throughout their body, affecting their internal organs. Because of this, it's critical that you keep your pet's mouth clean and healthy. 

How can I keep my dog’s teeth clean?

Pet parents play an important role in helping their pup fight 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 plaque prevention products recommended by your vet by applying them to your pet's teeth and gums. These will help to prevent plaque buildup from occurring 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 your at-home oral healthcare routine is incredibly important (as well as supplementing it with dental treats or chews), seeing your vet regularly for a professional cleaning is the missing piece of the puzzle for preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar and ensuring 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 part of your pet's overall physical health and wellbeing. Schedule your pup's annual physical and dental checkup appointment today. Your dog will thank you. 

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:

  • Bad breath
  • Discolored teeth
  • Plaque or tartar buildup
  • Extra teeth or baby teeth that have been retained
  • Swelling, pain, or bleeding in or around the mouth
  • Loose or broken teeth

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 determine whether or not your pet is safe for anesthesia and perform any additional required diagnostics. Once your pet is safely anesthetized, we will conduct a comprehensive oral exam 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.

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.

Is your dog due for a dental examination? Contact a PetVet Care Center animal hospital near you to book an appointment for your four-legged friend.

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