Do I really need to take my dog in to get his teeth cleaned on a regular basis? I’m not sure that it would be worth the extra expense of the procedure. Most dogs just have bad breath, right?
Thinking about Teeth in Timbergrove
Dear Thinking about Teeth,
As you probably know, humans should visit their dentist twice a year for a dental cleaning and exam, but did you know your pet should also visit the veterinarian for teeth cleaning once a year? February is Pet Dental Health Month and keeping your pet’s teeth clean is an important part of ensuring that your pet stays healthy. Gum disease is the most common disease occurring in pets today. Plaque and tartar buildup can cause bad breath, bleeding, painful, irritated gums that affect eating and can even cause microscopic damage to the heart, liver and kidneys.
There are several symptoms of dental issues in your dog that you should look out for such as: bad breath, discoloration of the gums and teeth, bleeding, broken teeth and exposed roots. If you see any of these things happening in your pet’s mouth, see your vet for help.
Most veterinary clinics offer dental cleaning services (if they do not, they can refer you to someone who does). A basic cleaning for your pet’s teeth usually begins at about $200 and goes up from there, based on the condition of your pet’s teeth. The process requires anesthesia, so plan on your pet spending most of the day at the vet clinic the day of his cleaning for the procedure as well as for observation following the cleaning. So, what can you do to ensure the health of your pet’s chompers?
“Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth daily, using a special toothpaste, formulated especially for pets,” advises Dr. Johnathon Dodd, clinical professor at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine. If daily tooth-brushing doesn’t quite fit into your busy schedule, luckily, there are pet treats on the market that promote good dental health and can be used in between brushings. Visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s website (www.vohc.org) to see a comprehensive list of pet products that aid in dental care. Between regular tooth brushing, special, tooth-friendly treats, exams and cleanings from your veterinarian, maintaining the health of your pet’s mouth is a simple form of preventative care.
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Pet of the Week
Meet Dime. This friendly boy was found before one of Houston’s recent big freezes. He was following a dog walker around, trying to sneak into homes behind her–looking for a cozy place to ride out the cold. Thankfully, Dime was rescued before the freeze hit and is ready for a cozy home of his own. Dime is about 2 years old and gets along with dogs and cats alike–a real gem! To learn more, go to www.saveacatrescue.org.