Introduction to Dog Dental Cleaning: What You Should Know?
A dog’s mouth is just like that of a human.
However, the primary difference is that a dog’s teeth are not brushed regularly, which leads to many problems including dental issues.
Even if you feed your dog the best and most nutritious food, he will still need a dental cleaning.
Remember to take your dog in for dental cleaning at least once a year and follow the tips below.
It is important to realize that your dog will never tell you when it is experiencing dental pain.
All dogs will endure some level of dental disease and dental pain during their lives.
The best way to minimize these issues is for your dog to start out with a great dental health routine at home.
This should be supplemented with regular dental cleanings performed by veterinary professionals (a veterinarian and veterinary nurse to aid in the dental cleaning and patient care during the procedure).
Proper dental care at home consists of daily brushing.
Just as with humans, dogs need the plaque and biofilm removed from their teeth on a daily basis to avoid dental disease.
The vast majority of dogs will accept daily brushing by their owners.
We are here to teach you how to brush your dog’s teeth and provide you with the best brush and dental paste according to your dog’s size.
It can be a bonding experience for owners to brush their dog’s teeth and the dog may come to really enjoy the process.
However, not every dog will tolerate and not every person is willing or able to brush their dog’s teeth, we can work with you to find the next best solution for home care.
Why Pets Need Dental Cleanings
Poor oral hygiene causes more than just bad breath.
When plaque on teeth isn’t removed regularly, it turns into hard tartar. Both plaque and tartar irritate the gums and can result in infection.
While plaque can be brushed off at home, tartar cannot. Tartar requires veterinary attention.
As conditions worsen, dogs can suffer from oral pain, abscesses, gum separation, loss of bone that supports teeth, and teeth that are loose and fall out.
Bacteria originating in the mouth can travel into the bloodstream and damage the kidneys, heart, lungs, and other organs.
The Importance of Dog Dental Care
The good news for dogs is they’re not as prone to cavities as human beings are.
But despite the old conventional wisdom that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a humans, dogs can still develop problems like tartar and plaque buildup and gingivitis.
But it’s not just bad breath and yellow teeth you have to worry about.
As with humans, these canine dental problems can actually lead to life-threatening infections and issues including heart, liver, and kidney disease.
Here’s how to practice good dog dental care that will extend your dog’s life:
- Brush their teeth early and often
- Take them for routine teeth cleanings
- Feed dry dog food
- Use chew bones and chew toys
Signs You Need to Schedule a Dog Teeth Cleaning
Signs that you might need to schedule a dog tooth cleaning include:
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Receding and/or bleeding gums
- Loose or missing teeth
- Poor appetite
- Sneezing and nasal discharge (from an abscess that breaks into the nasal passages)
Your vet should examine your pet’s mouth during every checkup.
Based on what they find, they may recommend that you schedule a dog dental cleaning.
What Does a Dog Dental Cleaning Entail?
Veterinarians often suggest doing some lab tests before a dog teeth cleaning.
These tests help vets assess the dog’s overall health and plan the anesthesia needed to perform a safe and thorough dog teeth cleaning.
Endotracheal tubes, IV catheters, IV fluids, and multiple patient monitors are all used to keep dogs safe during a dental cleaning.
During the cleaning itself, your vet or a trained veterinary technician will scale all surfaces of your pet’s teeth to remove plaque and tartar.
The area underneath the gum line also will be cleaned, which is necessary to reduce gum inflammation (gingivitis).
Once your dog’s teeth have been scaled, they will be polished to make it more difficult for plaque to redevelop.
The teeth also might be treated with fluoride or products formulated to slow the return of plaque and tartar.
Dental X-rays (radiographs) are often taken to assess the health of structures, like tooth roots, that aren’t visible.
Other procedures might be necessary depending on the health of your pet’s mouth.
Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Clean at Home
Since veterinary dental treatments can be so costly, it’s smart to practice good pet dental care at home. Here are several ways that you can help keep your dog’s teeth clean:
Brushing your dog’s teeth every day is the best way to prevent plaque build-up. A brush with a small head and soft bristles, such as the Virbac C.E.T. pet toothbrush, will make the process easier and more comfortable for your dog. Select a pet-friendly, fluoride-free toothpaste for brushing your dog’s teeth. Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Enzymatic poultry flavor dog toothpaste and Sentry Petrodex Veterinary Strength Natural peanut flavor dog toothpaste are safe when swallowed and come in flavors that pets find appealing.
If your dog won’t tolerate a toothbrush, you can use a finger brush, like the Pet Republique dog and cat finger toothbrush. These rubbery brushes slide over the top of your finger and can be used with dog toothpaste.
While not a replacement for brushing, water additives are a great addition to any dental program. Active ingredients help kill bacteria and promote a clean, healthy mouth. Dental Fresh Original Water Additive is scent- and taste-free, which can be handy for finicky pets.
Dental chews and treats
Tasty treats, like Greenies, are a clever way to trick pets into cleaning their own teeth. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Dental Chewz are high in protein and low in fat, making them ideal for regular consumption. If your dog has dietary sensitivities, try WHIMZEES Stix dental dog treats, which are vegetarian and gluten-free.
If your pet is very susceptible to dental issues, your vet might suggest a dog food formulated to promote dental health. Both prescription and over-the-counter options (Hill’s Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dry Dog Food, for example) are available and can be good options for pets who are resistant to other dental care options.