Did you know that your pets need to maintain their dental hygiene just as much as we humans do? Dental cleaning for dogs and cats is an essential part of their routine wellness and health checks, and they need their teeth cleaned and checked on a regular basis at home and by their vet. But most pet parents don’t give their fur babies the proper care that their little teeth deserve. In fact, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have periodontal disease by the time they’re 2 years old, which can lead to many other health problems in your cat or dog.
Below, we’ll go over all the things you need to know about dental care for your dog and cat and what you need to do to prepare them for a trip to the dentist or dental surgery.
Dental Diseases in Dogs
The dental diseases we most frequently treat in dogs are:
- Periodontal disease
- Oral infections
- Tooth fractures
- Retained baby teeth
Some signs that your dog might have a dental disease are:
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Excessive drooling or bloody drool
- Loose or broken teeth
- Severe halitosis
- Only chewing on one side
- Swelling in and around the gums
Dental Care and Your Dog
Keeping your dog’s mouth healthy is the best way to prevent disease and keep them living a longer and healthier life overall. Dental cleaning for dogs should be done at home and at the vet with an annual professional dental exam.
At-home dental care for your dog includes:
- Brushing their teeth 1-2 times a day (make sure that you use a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically for dogs)
- A water additive to help combat plaque and tartar
- Treats and chew toys, like Greenies, that help to ‘brush’ their teeth
Dental cleaning for dogs at the vet includes:
- A thorough dental and mouth examination
- Evaluation of pocket depth, or the grooves between the gums and the teeth
- Teeth cleaning
- Removal of tartar in the gums
- Teeth polishing
When visiting the vet to get a dental cleaning, anesthesia for dogs is typically used for a few reasons. Most dogs won’t stay still long enough for an X-Ray to be taken. Dogs don’t like to have their mouths prodded and poked at, which can prevent the vet from doing a thorough and proper cleaning. Tarter removal involves cleaning below the gum line, which can be uncomfortable, and sometimes there can be some pain involved with teeth cleaning. Putting your dog under is always done safely, and it allows your vet to do their job without the risk of being bitten or blocked.
Dental Diseases in Cats
The dental diseases we most frequently treat in cats are:
- Stomatitis (open sores and ulcers in their mouths)
- Tooth resorption (or erosion)
Some symptoms that your cat may have a dental disease are:
- Weight loss
- Unkept fur (they stop self-grooming due to mouth pain)
- Difficulty eating
- Excessive drooling
- Pawing at mouth and teeth
- Bleeding, swollen, or red gums
- Visible tartar
- Missing, loose, or cracked teeth
Dental Care and Your Cat
The health of your cats’ teeth and mouth starts at home. You can brush their teeth daily with a special cat toothbrush and toothpaste or use a dental cleansing mouth wipe, get a water additive to combat plaque and tartar, and get them dental chews and treats.
Cat dental care at the vet is very similar to that of dogs; it requires anesthesia to ensure your kitty gets the best and most thorough cleaning possible.
Cat Tooth Extractions
Missing or loose teeth is the most common sign of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease causes inflammation and infections in the gums and leads to the bones around the teeth eroding. Cat tooth extraction is needed for teeth that are missing or cracked and are a common procedure performed on cats, and most cats will have at least one tooth extracted in their lifetime.
Cat tooth extraction aftercare is relatively straightforward. Your kitty will recover quickly from the extraction. You just need to make sure they take all their pain meds and antibiotics, feed them wet canned food to avoid irritation at the extraction site, and give them lots of love and TLC. Cat parents are almost always surprised at how quickly their cats recover from cat tooth extraction.
To learn more about the importance of your pet’s dental hygiene or to schedule an appointment for your cat or dog, contact us today!