February is national pet dental month.

By the age of 3 yrs. Most dogs and cats have some periodontal disease.  Obvious signs include bad breath, reddened gums, tartar build up, and tooth loss.  Like us some pets have more dental problems, and some have less.  There are breed differences too.  Small breed dogs seem to have bad teeth, maybe because they don’t chew on things as much as larger breeds, or maybe because they generally live longer and have more time for problems to develop.

You can help prevent problems with home dental care, like  daily brushing with pet toothpaste (don’t use human toothpaste) and a toothbrush is best. There are different flavors of toothpaste that dogs and cats might like.  You may have to work with your pet to get them to allow you to brush their teeth.  I recommend to start brushing when they are young, and it will be much easier.

Oral care can be as easy as just feeding.  There are several options of diet that help clean teeth while your pet eats.  We have prescription diet t/d, and healthy advantage oral care for example.

Dental chews, either edible or not can also help keep teeth clean if your pet will chew on them.  Deer antlers are too hard and can cause tooth fractures, so they are not recommended.

Water additives and topical sprays are also available to help keep mouths healthy.

Whatever home care you do your pet will likely need a professional cleaning at some point.  This requires general anesthesia for proper exam and treatment.   Tarter is cleaned off the teeth with an ultrasonic scaler.  Any teeth that need it are extracted, and the remaining teeth are polished.

Good oral health is important to your pet’s overall health.  If you have questions about what to use at home or how to get started call or stop in and we will be glad to discuss it with you.

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