Dental health issues are a pervasive issue for American companion dogs. Many dogs do not receive the dental health care they need, which leads to chronic pain and other health problems. Fortunately, regular dental cleanings can alleviate these issues before they develop. Today our Lancaster dentists discuss when it is time to take your dog for a dental cleaning.
Dental Health & Your Dog
If you've ever suffered from a toothache you know how dental health issues can affect your overall health, from reducing your energy level to spoiling your appetite and the exhaustion of dealing with the pain.
When your dog experiences dental health problems it is much the same. If your pup develops tooth decay or periodontal disease they can experience significant chronic pain that affects their overall health and quality of life.
But how can you tell if your dog is experiencing dental health problems?
What are the signs of dental health problems in dogs?
There are a number of signs and symptoms that can indicate that your dog has dental health issues that need veterinary attention. If you notice any of the following symptoms it's time to call your vet to book a dental appointment for your pooch:
- Bad breath
- Loose, broken or badly decayed teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Brown or yellow teeth
- Obvious signs of tartar buildup
- Abnormal drooling
- Chewing, or dropping food from their mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Dropping food from their mouth while eating
- Pain in or around the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Swelling in the areas around the mouth
- Lack of energy
- Weight Loss
- Short temper
- Reluctance to play
Do dogs need their teeth cleaned?
Dental cleanings once a year can help to prevent the symptoms above from developing in your dog's mouth. Our vets believe that prevention is always better than treating a progressed disease.
Keeping your dog's teeth in tip-top condition can be easy. Annual professional dental cleanings including examinations, combined with a little extra care at home, can help keep your dog's mouth healthy and looking great.
What is involved in professional dental cleanings for dogs?
To begin, your pet will be sedated so that the dentist can safely perform all the necessary work, and keep your dog calm and safe.
Once your pooch has been sedated your vet will perform a comprehensive examination of your pup's mouth, checking for dental issues such as those listed above. Dental X-rays may also be taken in order to get a complete picture of your dog's dental health.
Your dog's teeth will then be thoroughly cleaned above and below the gum line to help treat and prevent decay and periodontal disease. In some cases, fluoride treatment and sealant will be applied to your dog's teeth to help protect against further plaque buildup.
After your pup's dental appointment is complete your vet will speak to you about any findings and let you know if further treatment is required. Dogs with advanced dental issues may need to see the veterinarian more often for dental cleanings and examinations.
How do I care for my dog's teeth at home?
Keeping your pup's teeth clean and healthy between appointments simply requires a little extra care.
Dog toothbrushing may be easier than you think. Traditional style toothbrushes (like you or I would use) or easy-to-use finger brushes are available from most pet supply stores, and when combined with a small amount of canine-specific toothpaste can make brushing your dog's teeth easy and fun for your pooch.
Starting a brushing routine while your dog is a puppy will help to make oral hygiene a normal part of your dog's day.
If your dog will not tolerate you cleaning their teeth, you can find a wide range of treats, foods, and toys designed and formulated to help improve your dog's dental health.
When can I get my dog's teeth cleaned?
To find out when your dog should have their first dental appointment, speak to your vet. Your dog's veterinarian will be able to assess the health of your dog's mouth and provide you with guidance as to when and how often you should have your dog's teeth cleaned. For most dogs, yearly dental appointments are ideal and keep dental health issues at bay.
Where should I get my dog's teeth cleaned?
The good news is that getting your dog's teeth professionally cleaned can be as easy as booking an appointment with your vet. At Sears Veterinary Hospital in Lancaster our team of veterinary professionals can work with you to provide your dog with the very best oral health care. We perform a range of dental services from cleanings to dental surgery to help keep your pup's mouth looking and feeling great.
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.