Hi everyone! Since February is National Pet Dental Health Month I have been thinking about teeth. How many of you out there have given your pup a big smooch and thought “pheww! stinky breath!” and immediately regretted that decision? Or noticed a red angry looking gum line along the teeth in your kitten’s mouth?
So what is the cause of this bad breath and gum disease? The answer, dental tartar, calculus and gingivitis.
Just like we brush our teeth every day, our pets need dental care as well. And just like we get our teeth scaled and polished every 6 months, so should our pets. You may be thinking “I’ve never done any dental cleanings on my pets and I’ve had dogs my whole life. This lady is crazy.”
Well, over the last 10 years in veterinary medicine we have become more aware of how dental health can make a huge difference in the longevity and quality of our pets lives.
In fact, the American Veterinary Dental Society estimates that 85% of our lovable, kissable kitten and dog friends have periodontal disease by age 4…only 4 YEARS OLD!
Ok, so hopefully I have not lost you at this point. If you haven’t had your pets dental care as a priority in your mind, don’t worry, we can help. How do you stop dental tartar build up? How do I avoid smelly and stinky breath? How much money will this cost? Yes, I can read all of your minds and know exactly what you are all thinking and I’m here to answer these questions.
First step, brushing. Yes, with a toothbrush. Yes, there is pet toothpaste. No, do not use human toothpaste (pets do NOT spit it back out like we do). Yes, daily. Brush your pets teeth daily. This is the best way to help promote good dental health and prevent the build up of tartar. Dental tartar is basically the result of dead bacteria (GROSS!) and can lead to bad breath, salivation, decreased appetite, rubbing or pawing at the face and eventually, broken or loose teeth with horrible gingival disease. So go out today and get yourself a toothbrush and some pet specific toothpaste!
Step two, dental cleaning with scaling and polishing. To get dental tartar off that is already caked on, we must scale with an ultrasonic scaler and polish the teeth to a so-fresh-and-so-clean level. Now, there are many ways to clean teeth and your local veterinarian will definitely be the best one to recommend a treatment plan based on your individual pet. Unfortunately, some pets are more prone to advanced dental disease (our smaller dogs like yorkies and chihuahuas). We may have to perform a dental cleaning under anesthesia or a non-anesthetic dental. A non-anesthetic dental will include full scaling and polishing, and is best for our pets that are not high anxiety, and have no other underlying health issues that may lead to a problem. If we have not been brushing regularly for years (which I’ll admit can be so very hard with our crazy busy lives), we might have to proceed to an anesthetic dental with the possibility of oral surgery including extractions. We can help you decide which to start with, and how to keep up with the dental care.
Advanced dental disease can also lead to internal problems and affect the length of your pets life. I mean, we only get them for so long, so lets make that as long as we can!
Oh wait, cost. I know all of you are worried about cost. Well a non anesthetic dental can be a few hundred dollars. An anesthetic dental can be a few more hundreds of dollars on up depending on the work that needs to be done. I know that’s expensive, but its a bargain compared to human dentistry. (Plus here at Mariners Mile, we are doing 20% off for the entire month of February, including pre-anesthetic blood-work.) Just imagine if you were chewing your food with a broken tooth everyday and how that feels, or if you have had a toothache how much that hurts, and go see your vet for a treatment plan today!
So, if you pull back your precious pooch’s lip a little, and are worried about what you see, or want to get rid of that baaaaad breath for more kisses, head on in to your veterinarian for a dental health plan. Or if you want your sweet puuurrrrfect kitty’s teeth checked, grab that carrier and head into the vet’s office today. We all want that fresh fresh breath!!!