Looking After Your Dog’s Teeth

Sure, eating hard, crunchy food does minimize plaque in your pet’s mouth but giving Fido dog biscuits everyday isn’t going to do anything but make him put on weight. The truth of the matter is that pets require daily dental care the same way we do. It’s virtually impossible to brush certain animal’s teeth. They don’t like it and will fight tooth and nail (no pun intended) to avoid a daily brush up. So what do you do then?

As part of their yearly veterinary check-up, your pet needs to have their teeth examined. Dental disease can show up on even the youngest puppy or kitten and an experienced, caring vet will make sure that he gets to the root of the problem before serious issues develop.

Usually, a vet will recommend daily brushing. There are special toothpastes and brushes made specifically for pets. There are even breath mints and sprays available for pets who suffer from halitosis. But the best thing is having a professional cleaning done once or even twice a year.

Many people are terrified of the dentist so imagine what your pet must feel. You can’t tell Champ to open his mouth while the hygienist brushes and polishes his teeth. Pets need to be put under sedation in order to have this treatment. It’s safer for the veterinarian and for your pet as well. Many pet owners absolutely refuse to put their pet under sedation but all precautions are made to insure a safe, easy procedure.

The vet will take a blood sample first just to see if the animal can withhold the sedative. Any abnormalities that show up will put up a red flag for the vet. If anything pertaining to the liver or kidneys show up, the vet will treat that problem immediately and hold off on the teeth cleaning for the future. If everything comes up within normal range, the vet will then schedule the procedure.

The animal is hooked up to an intravenous during the treatment to insure an accessible blood vessel is available as well as keeping the pet stable during the procedure. The sedation is given and will keep the pet out long enough for the cleaning to take place. The pet owner is told not to feed the animal 12 hours prior to the cleaning so that there is no food that can be regurgitated during the procedure. The teeth are scraped and polished and a fluoride treatment is then applied to the teeth. Often in pretty bad cases of infection, the pet is sent home with an antibiotic, usually Antirobe, which is administered for a week following the cleaning. Even pain killers are given if the animal has had several extractions during the course of the cleaning. Sometimes, this can’t be avoided. If the tooth is seriously infected or rotted, it has to come out to avoid further complications later on.

What many people don’t realize is that dental disease, if not treated properly, can turn into something much worse. If left untreated, it can cause a serious infection to go into the pet’s bloodstream and cause damage to the heart, liver and kidneys. This leads to many bad problems for the pet and an incredible expense to the pet owner.

So take your pet to the vet and have their teeth checked out at least twice a year. You’ll be glad you did and so will your pet!