Our vet has suggested a professional dental cleaning for our dog. I didn’t even know that dogs need to have their teeth cleaned! Are regular dental cleanings really necessary for our dog?
Confused about Doggie Dental Health in the Heights
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.
Watch out for bad breath, bleeding, broken teeth
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.
Some vets offer reduced rates in February
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. During the month of February, many veterinary clinics offer discounted rates for dental cleanings, so check and see if that’s an option at your vet clinic.
The pet dental cleaning process requires anesthesia, so plan on your pet spending most of the day at the vet clinic the day of the procedure as well as for observation following the cleaning.
So, what can you do to ensure the health of your pet’s chompers?
What can you do at home?
“Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth daily, using a special toothpaste, formulated especially for pets,” said 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 that can have a big impact on your pet’s general health and well-being.
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