How many times has your dentist told you “you really need to start flossing”? The last time I saw my dentist I told him I would poke him in the eye if he found another cavity…which of course he did. As humans, we brush our teeth every day, we have mouthwash, we go to the dentist for a cleaning every 6 months and STILL sometimes it isn’t enough! So that begs the question, what about our pet’s dental health?
Now pets don’t eat candy, chew gum, or drink soda to damage their teeth like we do. They do, however, chew on rocks and sticks and can’t brush their own teeth. Could you imagine what your teeth would look like if you only brushed them once a month and only went to the dentist every couple of years? My bet is that you would not be anyone’s first choice at spin the bottle…just saying.
Your pet’s dental health is extremely important to their overall health and quality of life, and it is one of the most overlooked health issues in pets today. Many owners will complain that their pet has “bad breath” but assume that it’s normal. Bad breath is often the first sign that something more sinister is going on in your pet’s mouth. Periodontal disease in pets can lead to loss of teeth and painful abscesses in the mouth, but the bacteria harbored in the mouth can also cause inflammation and infection of other organs like the heart!
Here are some basic facts and tips that you should know to help keep your pet’s teeth healthy:
- -Brushing their teeth daily is the MOST effective way to prevent periodontal disease. Starting a brushing routine with new puppies and kittens will get both of you in the habit for life.
- -Dogs with short noses (brachycephalic breeds) like bulldogs and pugs, often have the worst periodontal disease because their teeth are crowded. These dogs also have the hardest time with anesthesia, so it is even more important to practice preventive care at home.
- -Cats can develop painful holes in their teeth called FORLs. So even if your cat hates the vet, it is important to have their teeth checked at least once a year to look for these.
- -In addition to brushing, there are foods that can help prevent tartar build up. We like Hill’s Healthy Advantage Oral + for both dogs and cats.
- -Regular dental cleanings and dental radiographs are recommended for all pets! This will allow us to catch disease early and stop it so that we don’t have to pull your pet’s teeth down the road.
- -There are more fun facts and tips in our Pet Health Network Library!
February is National Pet Dental Health Month! West End Veterinary Clinic is offering 10% off of all dental cleanings as well as free dental x-rays! Call 804-360-0111 to schedule yours, and ask us about our products for at home dental care. You can read more about our dental services at Our Services- Dentistry.