Panel: Dog Dental

Dental Care

Regular dental care and cleaning can help make your pets teeth last a lifetime.  While some pets may require minimal care, many dogs need dentals as young as 1-2 years of age, and as often as every 6 months.  We generally examine your pet's teeth each year as part of their wellness exam, and may suggest a dental cleaning and examination.

A thorough dental cleaning and examination will require anesthesia.  To remove tartar we use a dental scaler much like your dentist may use. Any loose, rotting, or problematic teeth will likely be extracted, and then the remaining teeth will be polished and treated with fluoride.   Your pet is usually allowed to go home that afternoon.  If extractions are required your pet will get pain medication, and may prefer softer food for a few days.  Most pets are able to resume eating a dry diet within just a few days.  Your pet will also need antibiotics to protect them from the bacteria which are found in all the tartar.  

Because many of our patients that need dental care are older, we offer pre-surgical bloodwork and IV fluids during the procedure to make it as safe as possible.  We also have monitoring equipment to carefully control the depth of anesthesia and promote safety for you pet.

We also can discuss ways to help your pets teeth stay cleaner on their own by using special diets, treats, and brushing.  The best thing is gentle daily brushing using a special brush and enzymatic toothpaste.  Most pets readily accept this and we will be more than happy to show you how best to introduce your pet to this routine.  It must be done daily as calculus starts to harden within 24 hours of removal.  Brushing will not remove the tartar that is already on the teeth.  

Eating a dry diet is recommended for most pets and helps to clean the teeth as they crunch down on the kibbles.  Larger and harder kibbles are more effective at keeping the teeth clean and we even have special diets designed just for that purpose.  Please visit with us about keeping your pets teeth clean at your next visit.