We believe that preventative care is the best approach for long term oral health of your pet. Our animal hospital provides extensive dental services including digital dental radiographs, prophylactic and periodontal treatments, extractions and oral surgery.
Dental care is a very important part of your pet’s overall health. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to serious disease of the heart, kidneys and liver. Studies have shown that 8 out of 10 dogs and 7 out of 10 cats show signs of gum disease by the age of three. The good news is that most dental diseases can be prevented and controlled. Dogs and cats over the age of one should have routine dental check-ups. Good preventive oral care is an important part of protecting your pet’s overall health.
Pet Periodontal Disease
Video: Periodontal disease in pets ›
Video: Dentistry for Pet Owners 101: 5 stages of periodontal disease ›
Home Dental Care
Home dental care for companion animals should start early even before the adult teeth erupt. It is best if owners brush their dogs and cats teeth twice daily. Dental sealants can easily be placed while your pet is being spayed or neutered. Other oral home care options such as dental formulated foods, water additives, and dental treats should be considered.
In addition, proper dental care at home is highly recommended to help maintain the oral health of your pet. Although tooth brushing is the best method of preventing plaque, calculus, and bacterial build-up, there are many options for dental home care. In general, chew items should bend slightly with force or dimple a bit when a fingernail is applied. For a list of Veterinary Oral Health Council accepted home care products considered to be safe and effective as plaque and/or tartar retardants go to www.VOHC.org.
Pet Formulated Toothpaste and Brushing
Teeth should be brushed twice daily to help prevent the occurrence or progression of periodontal disease, provide a positive bonding experience, and to assess changes in the oral cavity (lumps/bumps, color changes, fractured teeth). For tips on how to brush your pet’s teeth, please click on tooth brushing.
Dental wipes can be just as effective in controlling plaque as tooth brushing. Available wipes contain either sodium hexametaphosphate (which controls tartar) or chlorhexidine (which controls plaque). Wipes should be applied to the outside surface of the upper and lower teeth twice daily. For tips on how to use wipes , please click on tooth brushing.
Applying q-tips to wipe away accumulated plaque from the area where the gums meets the tooth can lead to effective plaque control especially in cats. For tips on how to effective use q-tips in dogs, and in cats please click on q-tip use in cats, and q-tip use in dogs.
Dental Formulated Foods
Dental formulated foods work in several different ways to mechanically and/or chemically slow down the progress of periodontal disease. Veterinary dental diets are completely balanced and can be used as the complete diet or may be added in with the existing food.
OraVet® Plaque Barrier Gel
OraVet® is a waxy gel applied to the teeth during a dental cleaning then applied weekly at home thereafter. Oral plaque is attracted to the gel instead of under the gumline to decrease plaque’s harmful effects.
Specially formulated chews for dogs and cats to help mechanically, and sometimes chemically, clean the teeth and remove plaque.
Toys that encourage chewing can help prevent calculus deposition. Kong and Kong-like toys are great at mechanically cleaning the teeth. Rope toys (be careful they are not shredded) are also beneficial. In general, toys should be able to be bent or indented and should not hurt when lightly tapped against your knee (the knee cap test).
Items to Avoid
To help prevent tooth fracture, the chewing of safe items should be encouraged and the following items should be avoided:
- Real Bones
- Nylon Bones
- Cow Hooves
- Ice Cubes
- Cages (if your pet chews on them)
- Other hard treats or toys