Is Dog Dental Care a Must Do?

Dog getting a dental checkup

As humans, dental hygiene is pretty important. Daily brushing, flossing, mouthwash, and periodic dentist visits are on most of our to-do lists. When it comes to our canine companions, though, dental care seems to fall down the list of importance. Contrary to popular belief, bad doggy breath is not the norm! Dog dental care is essential, and Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital wants to be sure your pup has primo care. 

Why Dog Dental Care?

Most pet owners ignore their dog’s teeth and wait until there is significant disease in the mouth before acting. At this point, though, periodontal disease has often set in and teeth may need to be extracted. Not only does this make the procedure more expensive, but it results in the loss of teeth. 

The accumulation of plaque and tartar over time leads to inflammation of the gums, which causes bleeding and oral pain. The ligament surrounding the tooth begins to loosen, and over time, this can lead to loose or missing teeth. Perhaps even more scary is the fact that bacteria around the tooth can gain access to the bloodstream and affect other organs like the heart and kidneys. This can actually shorten their lifespan. 

It is important to view dog dental care as part of their routine care, a preventative procedure rather than a treatment. The key to managing periodontal disease is prevention. 

The Dog Dental Cleaning

Most of our pets need to have a true dental cleaning performed at some point in their life. Most dog dental cleaning procedures start at around two to three years of age and may need to be done every 1-2 years throughout your pet’s lifespan.

The dog dental cleaning is comprised of:

  • General anesthesia—In order to provide the best care for your pet, we require full anesthesia for dental cleanings. An awake animal will not tolerate a thorough cleaning and full examination of the mouth. Anesthesia also allows your pet to be intubated, which prevents water and bacteria from entering the lungs. 
  • A thorough exam and charting—During a dental cleaning the mouth and each tooth are extensively examined. We also take dental radiographs (X-rays) in order to identify problems with teeth under the gumline. Periodontal probing also helps to identify disease. We note any concerns on your animal’s dental chart
  • Extractions and other treatments—If diseased or damaged teeth are identified on radiographs or during the dental examination, we might recommend procedures such as extraction.
  • Scaling and polishing—Plaque and tartar are removed from all sides of the teeth–including below the gumline using hand and ultrasonic scaling. They are then polished to remove any rough surface left from scaling that may encourage the buildup of plaque.

Most of the time a dog dental cleaning is an outpatient procedure. It is our goal to clean your pet’s teeth before it needs to be an extensive and invasive fix.

Do It Yourself

There are certainly things that you can do at home to support your dog’s dental health as well. Consider:

  • Brushing your dog’s teeth at least every other day
  • Choosing to feed a prescription diet designed for ultimate tooth health
  • Checking out the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s list of over the counter products such as treats, dental chews, sprays, and water additives shown to support your dog’s dental health

Dog dental care is an important part of your dog’s wellness care. Don’t let good dental care slip through the cracks, contact us for help getting started on the right paw today!