Pet Dental Care – The Importance of Oral Hygiene
Angela Ellini, CVA II, Oak Forest Veterinary Hospital
Why should we worry about pet dental care?
The truth is a healthy mouth is a healthy body! Studies show 85% of adult pets have some stage of dental disease. The bacteria found in dental plaque and tartar can also have harmful effects on the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. Being proactive with your pet’s oral care can make a difference in their health.
Knowing When to Take Action
It is important to be able to recognize the signs of dental disease before progression into larger, more severe problems. Pets can experience tooth and bone loss, gum inflammation, and infection which may go unnoticed because they cannot verbally tell us when something is wrong. Due to their instinct for survival, a pet will often mask their pain.
Potential Signs of an Underlying Problem Include:
- Plaque (white buildup on teeth)
- Tarter (brown stains on teeth)
- Eating food only on one side of their mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- Excessive drooling and swallowing food whole rather than chewing.
Process for Treating Pet Dental Issues
Veterinary dentistry is similar to human dentistry, however, anesthesia is used to allow the veterinarian to perform a thorough dental examination, cleaning, fluoride application and extractions if needed.
Each individual tooth is examined, evaluated and radiographed. Dental radiographs of all teeth are necessary to evaluate the health of the tooth and root structures and helps determine which teeth need treatment or extraction.
In addition to professional cleaning, pet dental care at home is important to prolong your pet’s quality of life. To reduce harmful bacteria daily brushing is recommended. If brushing seems farfetched, there are alternative products designed to promote oral health such as enzymatic dental chews and rinses.
How Oak Forest Veterinary Hospital Can Help
The veterinary community recognizes February as pet dental awareness month and typically offers a discount for dental cleanings. Oak Forest Veterinary Hospital recognizes that it is not always feasible for our clients to schedule a dental check only in the month of February.
As a solution and for the benefit of our patients, we have extended our discount year-round by offering a 10% discount on dental cleanings when scheduled within 30 days of examination.
Contact us for more information about the process, questions about your pet’s teeth, or to schedule a cleaning.