Everyone can understand the importance of dental care for their pets, because the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease is the same for animals as it is for people. There is no reason to believe that animals do not feel the same pain of sore gums and a toothache that people feel. So, the main reason to care for your pet’s teeth is to prevent pain.

If you never brushed your teeth, your mouth would be sore and you would have trouble eating. You might feel tired all the time because the infection in your mouth would spread throughout your body. The same thing happens in your pet’s mouth. The mouth is the door to the rest of the body. It has a very good immune system to protect it against the constant barrage of bacteria and toxins it deals with every minute. But it needs some help. We must keep it clean of the plaque that is constantly forming on the teeth. Plaque can build up on teeth in 6 to 8 hours even after brushing, and plaque not removed in a timely fashion creates hard tartar, which stains teeth a yellow color, as well as contributes to a pet’s bad breath.

Care At The Suffolk Veterinary Group Animal Wellness Center

Dental procedures on pets involve the same professional cleaning that a human dentist performs on people, except because most pets will not stay still during this procedure, they need to be under anesthesia so we can reach all parts of their mouths. Scaling removes the plaque and tartar build up. Polishing smooths the surface of the teeth to discourage plaque, and gives them a pearly shine. Fluoride treatment helps strengthen the teeth, as pets cannot have human fluoride toothpaste because it may cause stomach upset. Severe periodontal disease may require extractions of certain teeth to relieve the pain of toothaches.

We believe that preventative dental health is important to your pet’s Lifetime of Wellness.

Teeth Brushing At Home

It is very important you follow these directions for the life of your pet in order to prevent severe dental disease. Pets respond best to a regular routine, and most will enjoy the affection once acclimated to having their mouths handled and touched.

Week One: Start by just looking at the teeth. Do this once a day. Pull the lips back from the front of the muzzle and check the long canine teeth. Then, pull your finger back towards the corners of the mouth to see the premolars and molars, checking both top and bottom. Rub your finger along the gums. Then do the same for the other side of the mouth and the front incisor teeth. This takes about 30 seconds. Be sure to praise your pet as you do this. Give him or her a treat or favorite toy when you finish.

Week Two: Once a day, use a toothbrush to play and pet around your pet’s mouth, using the same rubbing motion as with your finger. Do not allow your pet to chew the toothbrush, as we do not want them to swallow broken parts.

Week Three: This week, use a pet-friendly toothpaste. We can recommend one if you’d like. Human toothpaste, salt, or baking soda should NOT be used, as these may be toxic to your pet if ingested, and cause stomach upset.

Week Four: Once your pet is accepting the tooth brushing, and enjoying the taste of the pet-friendly toothpaste, increase your brushing frequency to twice a day. Twice a day brushing of your pet’s teeth is recommended for the life of your pet.

Diet And Exercise

There is a prescription diet called Hill’s Prescription T/D in which the kibble is specially formulated to assist in the scraping of tartar and plaque off of a pet’s teeth while they chew, as well as being formulated to be less sticky to the teeth themselves, and is nutritionally complete for your pet. Providing your pet with a wide variety of toys to chew also help prevent tartar build up. Rope fiber toys are especially useful in acting like pet dental floss when chewed upon.

Emergency Situations To Keep In Mind

Just like in people, pets can experience a dental abscess, which is a very severe infection that can involve the whole jaw. A dental abscess is very, very painful, and your pet may stop eating and drinking because it hurts too much to chew, thus experience weight loss, dehydration, fever, depression, lethargy, very bad breath, a swollen face, loose teeth, drooling, and puss or discharge from the abscess. The longer a dental abscess goes untreated, the more at risk your pet is for getting infections elsewhere in the body, and an untreated dental abscesses can lead to cardiac, liver, or kidney infections as well.

A dental abscess Requires Immediate Veterinary Attention. Call 631-696-2400 right away if you see any of these symptoms.

A Lifetime Of Dental Wellness

The sooner you start caring for your pet’s teeth, the better it will be for your pet in the long term. Starting home dental care on puppies and kittens as soon as you can is optimum, as these pets will grow-up accustomed to having their teeth brushed, and therefore be less resistant of it throughout their lives.

Immediately adopting at home preventive care dental techniques after a veterinary-performed dental procedure will also make sure that the benefits of that procedure last as long as possible.

Depending on your ability to brush your pet’s teeth, your pet’s genetic susceptibility, their diet, and their lifestyle, your pet will require continuous follow-up dental care for the rest of their life. Veterinary cleanings may need to be repeated every several years based upon your pet’s Yearly Health Examination, and other treatment protocols that will be assessed during regular examination by a Veterinarian.

Your pet’s health is our most important concern. Feel free to call 631-696-2400 any time if you have any questions.

Our Vets First Choice Online Pharmacy has a wide variety of dental medications and products, from toothbrushes and toothpastes to special prescription diets that can make taking care of your pet’s teeth easy! And, it all gets delivered right to your house! Click “Shop Online” now to go directly to the Vets First Choice Online Pharmacy homepage.