Two of the most common dental problems in dogs are periodontal disease and tooth decay. In this blog, our Stockton vets discuss the importance of dog dental care and how the most common dental problems in dogs are treated and prevented.
Why is dog dental care important?
Dental care is a very important part of your dog's overall health and wellbeing. Your dog will generally start showing signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) by the time they are about 3 years old. Because this is an early age to start developing a dental disease it can have serious long-term effects on your pup's health.
According to several studies, there is a connection between periodontal disease and heart disease in both dogs and humans.
The connection between periodontal disease and heart disease occurs because bacteria enters the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function and causing problems with other organs. These health conditions are in addition to the more visible problems such as pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.
Pairing at-home oral health care routines with dental treats can go a long way in helping your pup's teeth stay clean, although, the best way to keep your dog’s mouth healthy and clean is to bring them to the vet for annual dental exams and hygiene cleanings.
Neglecting your pup's annual professional cleanings can put them at risk for many dental problems such as gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
What happens at pet dental care appointments?
To keep your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease, our veterinary dentists at Rosemarie Pet Hospital suggest bringing your pooch in for a dental appointment once a year, or more regularly if they are suffering from severe or recurring dental problems.
When you bring your dog in for a dental checkup our dog dentists will conduct a comprehensive oral examination for your canine friend and look for signs of common dental issues, such as:
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Loose teeth
- Broken teeth
If you notice symptoms of periodontal disease in your dog, such as reduced appetite (which can be an indication of tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath or other symptoms contact your vet immediately to book a dental appointment for your canine companion. Oral health issues can become severe if they are left untreated and can cause your pooch a great deal of pain and discomfort.
Our vets assess all pets to make sure they are healthy enough to undergo anesthesia and conduct additional diagnostics if required to ensure that a dental exam while anesthetized is safe for your dog. Once your pet is safely sedated, we will perform a complete tooth-by-tooth examination, with charting, (just like your dentist does during your examinations).
When your dog is safe and comfortable under anesthesia, we will thoroughly clean and polish their teeth, above and below the gum line. We probe and X-ray the teeth and to help protect against future decay, and damage we use a fluoride treatment before applying a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.
If your dog is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help make your dog's mouth pain-free and healthy again.
How are dog dental health problems treated?
The treatment methods used and the duration of the treatments will depend on the type and severity of the condition. Below our vet dentists in Stockton list the ways a few of the most common dog dental conditions are treated.
Periodontal Disease: If your pup is suffering from periodontal disease it can be treated with something as simple as dental cleanings in its earliest stages, or antibiotics if the condition is more severe. Although, if it goes too long without treatment it can become irreversible and cause additional problems throughout the body.
Tooth Decay: Your dog's dentist will use a drill to remove the infected parts of the tooth and fill it with a composite that is the same color as their teeth, which will be sealed and smoothed with a binding agent.
Gingivitis: This condition can typically be treated with dog dental cleanings. However, if they do not respond to this treatment your pup will have to be tested for other problems.
No matter what problem your dog has prevention is the best treatment, therefore we highly recommend implementing dental care for your dog at home and bringing your pup in for their annual dental exams and cleanings.
Protecting Your Dog's Oral Health
You as a dog owner, play a key part in helping your dog fight dental diseases. Here are a few easy ways you can help keep your dog's mouth healthy and clean:
- Use a finger brush provided by your vet, or a child’s toothbrush to clean your pet’s teeth daily to remove any plaque or debris. It's as easy as brushing your own teeth. If your dog fights having their teeth cleaned try some doggie toothpaste in flavors your pup will love. These special kinds of toothpaste can turn a chore into a treat.
- Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can suggest a few), which you can apply to your canine’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
- Offer your dog treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque and tartar buildup.
Dental care is an important part of your canine companion's overall health. Remember to book your dog's annual dental appointment today, your pup will thank you.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.