Top 5 Pet Dental Care FAQs
From in-office dental cleanings to at-home tooth brushing, pet dental care is an important part of routine pet wellness care. Many pet owners, however, are not sure how to brush their pets’ teeth or are unfamiliar with the need for regular in-office cleanings. Below, our La Mesa veterinary care team answers five of your most frequently asked questions about pet dental care.
Why does my pet need dental care?
Dental care is an important part of pet wellness care. While many pet owners intend to brush their pet’s teeth on a regular basis, given our busy lives, it’s all too easy to let pet dental hygiene fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, poor hygiene leads to plaque and tartar build up, which increases the risk for gum disease, tooth loss and bacterial gum infections. In fact, nearly three out of every four adult dogs and cats has periodontal disease – and many pet owners do not even realize it! Regular dental care, including professional dental cleanings and at-home tooth brushing, is the best way to keep your pet’s gums healthy and disease-free.
How often should I get my pet’s teeth professionally cleaned?
Our veterinary care team recommends an annual professional dental cleaning for all pets. During this cleaning, our veterinarian will remove plaque and tartar build up from your pet’s gum line and then polish the teeth to resist future buildup. When you schedule your pet’s annual wellness exam, consider scheduling the dental cleaning in conjunction with this exam.
How do I brush my pet’s teeth?
Brushing your pet’s teeth can be tricky, especially if your pet is not used to a toothbrush. To help your pet relax, we recommend slowly easing into regular brushing. Start by placing a small dollop of pet toothpaste on your finger and gently running this finger along your pet’s gums. It may help to have one person gently restrain your pet while you do this. Once your pet is comfortable with this, introduce the toothbrush. Let your pet lick and smell the toothbrush before softly running it along the teeth at an upward angle towards the gum line. Focus on the front teeth first, and then slowly include the back molars.
How do I know if my pet has a dental problem?
Periodontal disease is the most common oral health problem. Symptoms of periodontal disease include swollen and bleeding gums, excessive drooling, difficulty chewing, and tooth loss. And while your pet’s breath may never smell fresh exactly, if it is especially unpleasant, this may be a symptom of gum disease or another oral health problem.
Is anesthesia necessary to perform dental work?
In general, your pet will be placed under anesthesia prior to a dental cleaning. During a cleaning and examination, pets can become anxious, distressed and upset. Placing a pet under anesthesia is the safest choice for your pet’s health and helps ensure that our vet team can successfully complete the cleaning. For more information please see our Pet Dental page for more information, or call us directly at 619-463-9861.
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