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When asked what would be the most important preventative measure that a pet owner can do for their dog or cat after basic vaccines, most doctors would agree that proper dental care is number one. Dental disease is a serious condition that can have major ramifications on the health of your pet, both young and old. Starting basic dental care early and keeping up with any problems as they arise can add years and continued comfort to dog and cat lives.
As puppies and kittens it is recommended that you teach your animals to allow you to open their mouths and look at gums, teeth, and tongue. This makes it much easier for you to be able to remove things from their mouths when necessary, examine them at home for mouth injuries, and keep an eye on tartar and gingivitis.
At this young age it is also a wonderful idea to begin brushing their teeth using animal safe toothpaste. These are often flavored like beef, chicken or malt so they are a tasty treat as well as beneficial to oral hygiene. It is only necessary to brush the cheek side of the teeth, both uppers and lowers. Ideally, they get brushed every day, but several times a week still has major benefits.
Need help on getting started with brushing your pet's teeth? View this helpful video!
In older animals, brushing is still the best way to keep up oral care, but there are other methods for those animals that will not tolerate brushing, or for owners that have schedules that will not allow for time. There are additives that can be placed in the drinking water, gels that can be simply applied to the mouth once a day, cleaning pads or clothes, or treats that give some teeth cleaning effect with the chewing action.
But just like humans, dogs and cats will need professional dental care. The doctors at Lynn Animal Hospital can schedule professional cleanings Monday thru Friday, including full mouth dental x-rays, ultrasonic scaling of the exposed tooth, periodontal scaling under the gums, polishing and fluoride treatments by skilled technicians. The doctors perform full oral examinations, tooth extractions, dental abscess treatments, and oral surgeries.
Since most dogs and cats will not allow dental instruments in their mouths, each is placed under general anesthesia. The anesthetic protocol is tailored to each animal according to breed, size, age and general medical health. Most dogs and cats go home the same day as their procedure and can eat normally by the following day.
Please feel free to bring your pet in for an oral examination and to discuss your pet’s oral care. The doctors, in most cases, can examine your pet's teeth and can help you decide the best way to maintain their dental health. Or feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
What You Don't Know About Dental Disease!
There are many conditions that your pets may be at risk for because of their dental disease.
Rabbits and Guinea Pigs May Need Dental Care Too!
Often a sign of dental problems in your rabbit, guinea pig or other pocket pet is a lack of appetite. Rabbits and other rodents have teeth that continue to grow throughout their lives. They wear their teeth down normally by eating fibrous food in their diets such as grass and hay. If their teeth are not aligned normally, they will not wear down the way they are supposed to as they chew.
This condition in rabbits results in front teeth growing around in a circle and growing back into the roof of the mouth. Rabbit back teeth that don't grow correctly grow toward the cheeks and make it very painful to chew. Misaligned guinea pig teeth grow up and over the tongue, trapping it underneath and making it impossible to chew, swallow food, or sometimes even to close their mouths correctly.
It is important that your rodent friends get a check up regularly. An important part of their examination should be a check of their teeth. If there are signs of misalignment or overgrowth, Dr. Carman is able to sedate them and trim their teeth. Once a misalignment occurs, rabbits and guinea pigs will often have to be checked every several months or at the first signs of appetite loss to make sure that their teeth do not overgrow again.