Imagine not brushing your teeth for years. Your oral health would suffer tremendously; bad breath, plaque, tartar, unpleasant taste. YIKES! Now imagine how your dog must feel…
Dental disease in dogs is quite common and has serious consequences. Maintaining good dental care is vital for your pet’s longevity.
Dental disease affects the teeth, gums and structures that support and surround a dog’s teeth. It begins with plaque buildup on the teeth. When plaque continues to buildup, it hardens into tartar. Tartar below the gum line causes inflammation. It damages the structures supporting the teeth and also causes infection.
When dental disease reaches this stage, dogs can experience serious dental problems like:
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Broken teeth
- Painful and bleeding mouth
- Inability to eat or drink
As a pet parent, you want to have a happy pet. Happy pets have optimal oral health. You can ensure great oral health by:
- Scheduling a dental cleaning with your neighborhood veterinarian.
- Brushing your dog’s teeth daily.
- Giving your dog dental treats and toys.
A professional dental cleaning with your veterinarian with require anesthesia to allow your veterinarian to clean above and below the gum line. Your pet may require x-rays to help reveal if there are teeth that need to be removed. Extractions may be needed for broken, loose or decaying teeth.
Recovery is fairly easy. The patient is monitored in the hospital for a few hours before being discharged. Pet parents are to:
- Follow medication instructions (should there be medication)
- Feed soft foods for 3-5 days after a routine dental cleaning
- Feed soft foods for 7-10 days for dental cleanings with extractions
Note: It is common after anesthesia for pets to not have a bowel movement for 1-3 days.
Notify your veterinarian if your pet experiences:
- Vomiting or Diarrhea after 24 hours
- Refusal to eat after 48 hours
- Severe pain
- Abnormal/difficulty breathing
- Excessive lethargy
- Excessive vocalization
Written by: Jewel Bullard-Gee, MBA