Many people don’t think about their pet’s dental health until they notice an issue. But, your furry friend’s oral care should be addressed each and every day, rather than waiting until your pet struggles to eat because she is in pain. Stay on top of your pet’s oral health by keeping these facts about dental care in mind. 

#1: Like people, pets require regular dental exams and cleanings

You may think your pet is self-sufficient when it comes to dental care, and that her daily gnawing on toys, treats, and chews will stave off periodontal problems, but pets require a helping hand to keep their mouths healthy. We recommend routine dental-wellness exams for every pet, so we can monitor the entire oral cavity for signs of dental disease or other abnormalities. We will examine your pet’s mouth during her regular wellness visit, but additional dental checkups may be necessary if she is prone to tartar accumulation. Depending on your pet’s age, breed, and dental anatomy, she may require frequent dental cleanings to remove plaque and tartar. The best way to determine how often your four-legged pal needs her teeth cleaned is to schedule a dental exam with our team. 

#2: Pets need their teeth brushed for optimal dental health

Tackling toothbrushing for your pet’s dental health may be intimidating at first, but with plenty of patience and tasty rewards, your furry friend will soon enjoy the routine. You should brush your pet’s teeth as often as you brush your own, ideally every day. Choose a pet-friendly toothpaste, and progress slowly through each step to allow your pet time to adjust to her new toothbrushing regimen. Check out our video for more tips on teaching your pet to love her toothbrush. 

#3: Not all dental-health products are created equal

Unfortunately, any manufacturing company can claim that its dental-care product is the ultimate in oral health care. But, only a select few products have undergone the rigorous testing that proves they truly slow plaque and tartar accumulation. These products are stamped with the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s seal of approval, so search for the seal when choosing your pet’s chews, treats, diet, oral rinses, dental wipes, or water and food additives. 

#4: At-home dental care is as important as professional dental care

You wouldn’t go to the dentist twice per year, but never brush your teeth at home, right? The same goes for your pet. While we love sending each pet home with a sparkling white smile after a dental cleaning, we’d like to see her at her next wellness visit with the same pearly white grin. We will see that only if you implement a daily at-home dental-care routine, the same way that you brush your teeth between dentist appointments. In addition to toothbrushing, you should round out your home care with water or food additives, dental wipes, or simply treats and chews—whichever your pet likes best. No matter which method you use, sticking with your at-home routine is key for your pet’s optimal dental health.

#5: Bad doggy breath is not normal

Pet owners often believe that stinky dog or kitty breath is normal, but it’s actually a sign of underlying dental disease. While a slight odor is normal—after all, your pet likely doesn’t use a minty toothpaste after every meal—bad breath is a key indicator of periodontal problems. The odor arises from the oral bacteria building up in your pet’s mouth, and foul breath can mean an infection is brewing. 

#6: Standard dry pet food will not keep your pet’s teeth free from plaque and tartar

There is an ongoing myth that dry kibble will scrape off all the plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth but, while dry food will remove a small amount, standard diets are not designed to battle plaque and tartar. Prescription dental diets, on the other hand, are formulated to allow the tooth to penetrate each piece of kibble deeper before breaking, granting more cleaning power up to the gumline, unlike regular diets, which crunch apart immediately.

#7: Anesthesia-free dental cleanings do not compare with cleanings performed under anesthesia

At Bassler Veterinary Hospital, we strongly believe in the many benefits of a tailored anesthetic protocol for each pet, because an exclusive anesthetic plan ensures that we practice the safest medicine possible with our state-of-the-art anesthesia equipment and monitoring devices. With our anesthesia skills, we can perform dental procedures on your pet without causing undue fear, stress, anxiety, or trauma, which often occur in non-anesthetic dental cleanings. In addition, safe anesthesia allows us to take high quality dental X-rays, thoroughly examine your pet’s mouth, clean below the gumline, and perform necessary extractions, all while your pet is comfortably asleep and unaware. Anesthesia not only makes potentially unpleasant procedures safer for your pet and our team, but also ensures your beloved companion feels no pain, stress, or anxiety.

Is your pet’s breath less than fresh? Schedule a dental wellness exam with our team to evaluate the extent of your furry friend’s dental problems.