Unlike humans, cats and dogs don't have the option to get dentures, so it is important to prevent them from getting dental disease. At the end of their busy days, most people aren't thinking they should clean their pet's teeth. This is unfortunate as 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop gum disease by the age of two. Dogs are prone to dental conditions such as gingivitis, calculus (aka tartar), and severe gum disease (periodontal disease). While cats are often treated for gingivitis, tooth resorption, and periodontitis. These dental problems can affect your pet's overall health and be expensive to treat.
What is dental disease in cats and dogs?
Dental disease is a broad category used to describe unhealthy teeth, gums, and other dental issues. Infections develop in your pet's mouth when plaque forms over their teeth and hardens into tartar. To fight off the tartar their bodies release enzymes which can destroy gum tissue. Infections leave their mouth vulnerable to tooth decay or tooth loss and pain. Other symptoms of dental disease include:
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Red, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Pawing at the face
- Chewing on one side
What should I expect during my dog or cat's dental evaluation?
Since dental disease can affect your pet's overall health, our veterinarians will first perform bloodwork to check for underlying illness. Unlike human dental evaluations, cats and dogs require anesthesia for thorough examination of the entire oral cavity. This also ensures the procedure is safe, stress-free, and comfortable for your pet. We use a dental probe to identify infections and dental X-rays to look for hidden diseases like tooth root infections that may occur below the gum line. Our team will perform scaling to remove dental plaque and tartar as well as polish the teeth when done. After the patient's dental procedure we will discuss everything included in their treatment and will provide prescriptions if necessary. We may prescribe the following:
- Pain medication if your pet has inflammation or discomfort following a procedure
- Antibiotics to help with infections
- Dental chews
- Pet-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste for regular cleaning at home
- Dental diets to promote oral health
To book a dental appointment for your pet give us a call at 705-431-5570.
How do I brush my pet's teeth?
Ideally you should brush your pet's teeth daily and they should get their teeth professionally cleaned at least once annually. Human tooth brushes are not safe to use on cats and dogs as the bristles are hard and can damage their gums. You should use a brush that fits on your finger or a specialty brush made for dogs or cats. Only canine or feline toothpaste should be used as it is safe to swallow – plus your pet will prefer the taste! Gently brush your dog or cat's teeth, lift their lips, and expose their front teeth and clean them. Continue with all other teeth if they allow or take breaks in between until completed. Our team can also provide a demonstration on how to clean their teeth.