What Is Dental and Gum Disease?
Dogs and Cats develop the same kinds of dental problems as people. Plaque and tartar build up irritate the gums and can lead to gum disease known as gingivitis. It’s important to start taking care of your pet’s teeth when they are young. Bad teeth can be a serious health risk in older cats and dogs. It’s much more than just “old dog breath”. Infections from teeth and gums can cause heart infection, for example.
Your pet must have a general anesthetic for teeth cleaning so we can keep their mouths open. The cleaning can take an hour or more depending on the severity of the plaque and tartar and whether any teeth need to be extracted. The plaque and tartar are carefully scraped off the surface of the teeth and under the gum line. He or she will be ready to go home in the afternoon. You may be given some antibiotics and pain medication if there have been any extractions.
How Can I Take Care of My Pets Teeth?
Some dogs and cats just have better teeth than others. It’s not uncommon to see plaque beginning in puppies and kittens so it’s important to get into the habit of brushing their teeth early. They may not like it at first but many pets will learn to stand quietly while you brush. If they don’t, ask our staff about gels, treats and chews that can help fight plaque.
Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste made for pets. Finger brushes are a good way to get your pet used to brushing.
- Put some toothpaste into the bristles of the toothbrush so it doesn’t fall off. Brush your pet’s outer teeth with a gentle side to side motion, making sure you reach the back of the mouth.
- It’s harder to brush the inside as thoroughly but luckily most gingivitis in cats and dogs happens on the outside of the teeth.