Dental care for pets is an essential part of a good health care plan for your animals. A proper routine should include both home care and veterinary intervention.
Home care can include: brushing your pets teeth with a pet-safe toothpaste and fingerbrush or soft bristle toothbrush, mouth rinses or washes, treats for tartar. It is important to consult with your veterinarian about how to care properly for your pet’s teeth and which products are safe to use with variouss animals. Human paste should never be used for pets.
Veterinary care includes: Twice yearly physical exams (one with your annual vaccinations, and a wellness exam 6 months between), advice on proper care for your pet’s teeth, periodic dental cleanings at your veterinarians office as recommended by your veterinarian.
Because a proper dental cleaning requires the use of anesthesia, we only recommend a cleaning at the appropriate time when an animal’s health is threatened by the condition of their mouth. Like in humans, animal tartar is formed from plaque by bacteria in the mouth. This same bacteria can get into a dog or cats bloodstream and pose a serious health risk to the heart, liver, kidneys, and the patient themselves. Oral infections left unadressed can lead to systemic infections and possible death in both humans and theri pets. It has been shown in a recent study, that good oral health care and regular needed dental cleanings by a veterinarian can extend an animal’s life up to 4 years. This is a significant time frame considering most dogs and cats begin thier senior phase at around 7 years of age, and they age approximately 6-7 years for every regular human calendar year.
At Allison Lane Animal Hospital, we include a dental evaluation with every physical exam, and inform owners when a dental cleaning is recommended. We also recommend brushing your pets teeth as often as possible (usually daily to 2-3 times weekly). We have several excellent products for tooth care including fingerbrush kits, vanilla-mint toothpaste, duel-ended toothbrushes, oral rinses, and oral anti-bacterial gels. Our veterinarians routinely recommend and perform dental cleanings on both dogs and cats.
Exotic pet owners should keep in mind that oral care for their pets is improtant too. Birds routinely need beak trims, and rabbits and guinea pigs can develop sharp, painful points on their molars that require veterinary attention. Rhodent species (rats, mice, hampsters), rabbits, and guinea pigs can have problems with their front teeth, since they continually grow. If these teeth are not wearing properly, they can overgrow and require a veterinarian to shorten them.