It’s that time of year; January and February are dental months!
Why do pets need dental care? Dental Disease can manifest in a variety of ways including tartar accumulation, gingivitis, cavities, and bad breath. Dental disease can be painful for pets, and can affect both lifestyle and ability to eat, as well as resulting in serious infection. Infection from dental disease can be especially serious for pets which may be elderly or immune compromised, and the infection can spread and complicate other conditions, such as cardiac disease or kidney failure. Many dogs and cats will require at least one professional cleaning every few years, and seniors should have their teeth evaluated bi-annually.
Of course, prevention is the best option for young pets. The best way to prevent dental disease is with home care, which may include daily tooth brushing with pet toothpaste, dental enzymatic chews, Oratene®, and dental diets.
Never use human toothpaste for a pet as these contain sudsing agents (people like to see foam when they brush their teeth) that are not meant to be swallowed. Animal toothpastes come in pet-preferred flavors (chicken, seafood, and malt) in addition to the more traditional mint and are all safe to be swallowed. Finger brushes are available for smaller breeds or puppies and kittens. Studies have shown that brushing three times a week was adequate to maintain healthy teeth and gums but daily brushing was needed to control existing gingivitis.
Raw feeding can often help keep teeth cleaner as well. Please see someone at LPWC if you are interested in feeding your pets raw or need more information. Likewise, chew toys/rawhides can help, but you must be careful to monitor your pet to make sure they do not ingest harmful pieces or break their teeth on hard surfaces.
Unfortunately, like humans, home care is never perfect and periodically tartar must be properly removed, surfaces of teeth must be properly polished and disinfected, and occasionally teeth must be removed. The professional dentals performed at Lifetime Pet Wellness Center are similar to what a human receives at their dentist’s office; however general anesthesia is necessary since pets do not hold still long enough to perform a thorough professional cleaning. We take multiple steps to ensure anesthesia is as safe as possible, especially for our senior pets. Pets are constantly monitored under anesthesia by multiple technicians and assistants, and are never sent home until they are awake and released by our doctors. We utilize intravenous fluids, electrocardiogram vital monitoring, and when necessary dental radiographs, use of a therapeutic laser, and pain control. We take pride in providing the best care for our patients, and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Unsure if your pet needs a dental? Schedule a comprehensive exam with one of our doctors or a free peek with one of our technicians. Remember, during January and February dentals receive 10% savings, but appointments are booking fast!
UPDATE: LPWC is currently booked for Dental Month. Please call our front desk if you would like to be added to our wait-list.