Dog receiving a professional dental cleaning at the veterinary hospital.

Responsible pet ownership is no small achievement. Every single day, there are dozens of choices that either support a pet’s health and well-being or fall short of meeting their needs. Of all the things owners can do to care for their pets, including providing the best food, exercise, and bonding experiences, taking care of their teeth and gums is a hugely important choice. This task not only keeps their mouth free of bacteria, plaque, and tartar, but prioritizing pet dental health could add years to their life!

The Big Picture

Plaque, or bacterial film, forms on the surface of the teeth. Over time, the minerals in saliva harden the plaque into tartar, or calculus. To prevent the development of periodontal, or gum, disease it is vital to stop plaque and tartar from ever accumulating. Making pet dental health part of your daily or weekly routine has a tremendous impact on long-term health

Periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation of the bones and soft tissue that support the teeth. Left alone, this inflammation can lead to bone loss, swelling, bleeding, and pain. This disease is 100% preventable, yet a majority of cats and dogs over age three have at least one stage (out of four) of gum disease. 

Brush, Brush, Brush

It is ideal to start training a pet to accept tooth brushing as early as possible, but pets of all ages can be taught to enjoy the experience. Introduce them to their very own pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste  while lavishing praise, scratches, and even treats to help them build positive associations. Gradually, insert the toothbrush just inside the lip paying close attention to the gum line. You may get some resistance at first, but with patience and persistence your pet will grow to like the feeling. Consistent desensitization will move you closer to the goal. 

If you can brush your pet’s teeth every day, you’ll notice that their teeth will remain white, clean, and fresh. However, even three times a week as a target goal will pay off in the long run.

Supplemental Products

There are some excellent products available that are designed to boost pet dental health. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) approves and endorses certain chews, water additives, and more. Proven to reduce plaque and tartar, their recommended products are worth considering. 

Professional Pet Dental Health Care

We are proud to offer complete pet dental health care at Parkside Animal Hospital. We inspect and assess the appearance of the teeth and gums at every wellness exam. Because periodontal disease occurs beneath the gum line where we cannot see it, routine cleanings, examinations, and digital X-rays are all done while a pet is safely anesthetized. Once we know the extent of damage, if any, we’ll scale and polish the teeth, and proceed with other procedures, such as extractions, if necessary. 

Older pets must have pre-anesthesia blood work and chest X-rays prior to dental procedures to ensure they are healthy enough to withstand being under. We take extra care to monitor the heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen and all other vitals while under anesthesia, and observe their appearance and behavior in recovery before sending them home. 

February is Pet Dental Health Month, and we are happy to help address your pet’s dental health. Please call us at (705) 223-3404 with any questions or to schedule an appointment.