Dog Dental Care - How to Take Care of Your Dog's Teeth

Your dog's oral health plays a critical role in their overall health and well-being. This is why caring for your pup's teeth and gums are so important. Here, our Apple Valley veterinary team is here to explain how to keep your dog's oral health optimal and without any discomfort. 

Does my dog really need a dental appointment?

Your dog's oral health is a critical component of their overall health and well-being. Most dogs will generally start showing signs of gum disease by the time they reach about 3 years of age. The early start to dental disease can have a serious consequence for their long-term health and well-being. 

In people, studies have shown a distinct link between periodontal disease and heart disease. It appears that this holds true for our pets as well. 

The link between heart disease and periodontal disease in dogs is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function and causing issues with other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.

At-home oral health care routines paired with dental treats and cleanings can go a long way to helping your pup to keep your teeth clean and to control the buildup of plaque and tartar. The best way to ensure that your dog's mouth stays clean and healthy is to take your dog to the veterinarians for annual exams and hygiene cleanings. 

Neglecting annual dental cleaning could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay and tooth loss.

How can I tell if my dog has a dental issue?

It isn't always a simple matter to spot dental health issues in our dogs. Some of the more obvious signs that your dog may need a professional dental cleanings appointment include:

  • Bad breath
  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
  • Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose or broken teeth
  • Bleeding around the mouth

If your detect symptoms of periodontal or gum disease in your pet like reduced appetite, abnormal chewing, dropping food from their mouth, chewing strangely or bad breath, make sure you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to schedule a dental appointment for your pet.

Oral health issues can become severe if left untreated and cause your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort.

What happens during a dog dental cleaning appointment?

In order to help prevent your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease, our Apple Valley vets advise that you bring your dog in for a dental appointment at least once each year. This should be done more frequently if they are suffering from more serious or severe dental problems. 

At your pet's dental appointment your veterinarian will perform a full oral examination for your pooch and check for signs of dental issues, such as those listed above.

Next, your pet will be safely sedated and your vet will perform a full tooth-by-tooth examination, complete with charting, (just like your dentist does during your examinations).

While your vet has your dog safely and comfortably under anesthesia, they will thoroughly clean and polish your pup's teeth, both above and below the gum line. They will probe and x-ray the teeth, then to help protect against future decay and damage we use a fluoride treatment before applying a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.

If your pooch is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, your vet will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a pain-free and healthy state.

How long does it take for a dog to recover from teeth cleaning?

All dogs are different, but you should be able to safely expect your pup to recover from their anesthetic within a few hours. However,it isn't unheard of for the effects of anesthetic to take 24-48 hours to comp[letely wear off. During this time, your dog may seem drowsy and have a reduced appetite.

How much does dog teeth cleaning cost?

The cost of dog dental cleaning varies widely due to a number of factors including the size of your dog, the condition of your dog's teeth, where you live, and your individual vet. Contact your vet to get an accurate estimate for having your dog's teeth cleaned. 

All of that being said, invasive and expensive surgical procedures could be avoided with routine veterinary dental care and checkups. Routine dental care will allow your veterinarian to take proactive steps to avoid advanced stages of tooth decay and gum disease that may lead to tooth loss, pain and the deterioration of your pup's jawbones. 

Are there risks involved in dog teeth cleaning?

Any procedure performed under anesthesia comes with risks that's why your vet will assess your pet to ensure that they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia. Your vet may conduct additional diagnostics to ensure that a dental exam while anesthetized is safe for your pet.

Should I brush my dog's teeth?

Pet parents play an essential role in helping their pets to fight dental disease. Here are a few easy ways that you can help to keep your dog's mouth healthy and how to clean your dog's teeth:

  • Use a finger brush from your vet, or a child’s toothbrush to clean your dog's mouth and remove any plaque or debris. It's a simple as brushing your own teeth. If your dog resists having their teeth cleaned try some doggie toothpaste in flavors your pooch will find irresistible. These special dog-friendly kinds of toothpaste can turn a chore into a treat.
  • Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.

Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment today, your dog 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.

Has your dog had their annual dental checkup? Do you need advice on starting an at-home oral health routine? Contact Bear Valley Animal Hospital today to learn more about the oral health services our veterinary team can offer to your canine companion.