It's important to make your dogs' oral health a priority because they are susceptible to oral health problems such as periodontal disease and tooth decay. So our veterinarians in Ypsilanti are discussing the reasons why dental healthcare routines are important for dogs and how to keep your pup's teeth clean.
Does my dog need dental care?
Your dog's oral health is important for their overall health and wellbeing. Canines can begin displaying symptoms of periodontal disease when they are only 3 years old. When this disease develops when your dog is at such a young age it can have a serious impact on their long-term health.
There are studies that show a connection between heart disease and periodontal disease in people and dogs.
The connection between periodontal disease and heart disease develops when harmful bacteria makes its way into the bloodstream from the mouth, leading to heart function damage and problems with other organs. These health issues develop on top of the more distinct problem of pain caused by eroded gums and damaged or missing teeth.
Implementing at-home oral health care routines in combination with dental treats can help your dog's teeth stay clean and control the buildup of plaque and tartar. But, the absolute best way to maintain your pup's good oral health is to bring them to the vet once a year for a hygiene cleaning and dental exam.
Neglecting annual professional cleanings could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
What happens at my dog's dental care appointments?
To protect your beloved dog from dental conditions such as periodontal disease and tooth decay, our Ypsilanti vets at Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital highly recommend taking your furry family member to their primary care vet for a dental exam and hygiene cleaning once a year at the minimum. You may need to take your pup to our office more regularly if they are experiencing serious or recurring dental problems.
During your dog's dental check-up at Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital your vet will implement a comprehensive oral examination for your pet and search for any signs of a dental problem, such as:
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or
- Broken teeth
If you see your dog displaying any symptoms of periodontal disease such as abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath, a reduced appetite (which could be a sign of tooth pain), or other symptoms call your vet immediately to book a dental examination for your pup. If oral health problems are not addressed and treated early they can become serve and put your dog in a lot of discomfort and pain.
Our vets perform an assessment of all our canine patients to make sure that they are well enough to undergo anesthesia, they may also conduct additional diagnostics to see if it is safe for your pet to be anesthetized for their dental exam. When your dog is safely sedated, we will perform a full tooth-by-tooth examination, complete with charting, (just as your dentist does in your examinations).
While your dog is safe and comfortable under anesthesia, your veterinarian will thoroughly clean and polish your pooch's teeth, both above and below the gum line. We probe and X-ray their teeth, then use a fluoride treatment to help protect your pup from future decay and damage before applying a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.
If we find advanced periodontal disease, our team will work with you to establish a treatment plan to help your dog's mouth get back to a healthy and pain-free state.
How to brush my dog's teeth?
As a dog parent, you have an essential part in helping your dog fight dental issues. Here are some easy ways that you can help to clean your pup's teeth and keep their mouth healthy:
- Use a finger brush from your vet, or a child’s toothbrush to brush your dog’s teeth every day to remove any plaque or debris. It's as easy as brushing your own teeth. If your dog resists having their teeth brushed try using a doggy toothpaste that comes in flavors your pooch will find irresistible. This special toothpaste can turn a chore into a treat.
- Apply a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some) to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
- Offer your dog treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.
Dental care is essential for your pet's overall health. Remember to schedule your companion's annual dental appointment today, your dog will thank you.
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.