Good oral health is crucial to the overall health of your beloved pet. If you want to take the best care possible of them, then making oral health maintenance a part of their regular health routine is of utmost importance. If you have never brushed your pet's teeth, had them brushed by a veterinarian, or taken them to a veterinary dentist, now is the time to start. You will be glad you did, and your pet ultimately will, too, even if they don't realize it at the time.
Signs of Oral or Dental Issues in Pets
If you do not take care of your pet's teeth, they can develop cavities, abscesses, gingivitis, periodontal disease, loose teeth, and more. It can affect their ability to eat. It can also lead to more serious health problems that go beyond the mouth, and make them more susceptible to serious, long-term health issues like heart disease, strokes, osteoporosis, hardening of the arteries, and more. Keeping your pet's mouth and teeth healthy helps prevent all of these issues and makes for a happier, healthier pet who lives a long time at their best.
If you are concerned your pet may have mouth or dental issues, check for these signs:
- Loose teeth
- Not wanting you to touch their mouth area
- Dropping food from the mouth
- Teeth covered in visible tartar
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to chew
- Weight loss from loss of appetite or inability to chew
If you notice any of these signs on your pet, you must take them to a veterinarian or pet dentist right away to heal them, and prevent more serious issues from developing down the road.
The Difference Between Your Veterinarian and a Pet Dentist
Your veterinarian is your pet's general health practitioner. While a veterinarian can do a routine tooth cleaning on your pet, or sometimes an extraction, that is about as far as it goes. If your pet requires more specialized dental care, your veterinarian will recommend you take him or her to a pet dentist. A pet dentist specializes in the oral health of pets, and animals of all kinds. There are regular pet dentists, who treat household pets only, and those who treat farm animals, as well. Your veterinarian may recommend one in your area to you, or you may have to look for one on your own, if your veterinarian does not know of anyone in your area, or if you do not like your veterinarian's selection.
When choosing a pet dentist, take their position on anesthesia during dental work into consideration. It is common to put a pet under general anesthesia for teeth cleanings, because a veterinarian or pet dentist is able to get a better, more thorough cleaning this way. Not all pet owners like this idea, however. Yet, it is one you need to consider. While some pet dentists advertise anesthesia-free teeth cleanings, this may not be the best choice for your pet.
When anesthesia is not used, a veterinarian or pet dentist cannot clean the teeth beneath the gum line. Cleaning beneath the gum line is crucial to preventing periodontal disease and gingivitis. If your pet develops either of these conditions, they can be painful for your pet, and expensive to treat.
It is important to understand that while general anesthesia will always have its risks for pets and humans alike, the chance that it will cause an issue for your pet is far smaller than the chance of an issue being caused by poor oral health. Talk to your veterinarian or pet dentist about anesthesia during teeth cleaning, and make the best, most informed decision for your pet that you can, knowing that you are doing the best thing for them, and the risk is minimal.
How to Find a Pet Dentist
If you would prefer a veterinary dentist take care of your pet's oral health needs from the beginning, or if your veterinarian has recommended you choose a pet dentist for particular oral health needs or care for your pet, you need to know how to find one. If your veterinarian does not make a recommendation for a particular pet dentist, or if you do not like their recommendation, it is easier than you think to find a good pet dentist.
The first thing you need to do is to find a veterinary dentist who is an American Veterinary Dental College diplomate. These are certified specialists who have been to veterinary dental college, and who have been deemed by the college to meet all the requirements for excellence in veterinary dental care. The best way to find an American Veterinary Dental College diplomate in your area is to go to their website. You will be able to enter your zip code to find a diplomate dentist or click on the points on their interactive map to find one near you.
Once you find the pet dentist for you, all you have to do is contact them yourself, which is easy. The American Veterinary Dental College does not make recommendations or respond to inquiries about individual pets, so you must contact the veterinary dentist yourself to make an appointment for your pet.
There are veterinary dentists in most areas of the country. If, by chance, you live in an area without one, you may have to do some traveling to get your pet the veterinary dental care they need. Alternatively, you could possibly do a phone consultation with one of these pet dentists if there is not one in your area, and learn how to treat your pet as best you can on your own, or you can rely on your regular veterinarian, even though he or she is not a veterinary dental expert.
What to Do Between Cleanings
In between cleanings and visits to pet dentists, it is important to keep your pet's teeth clean, and gums healthy. Petsmile Professional Pet Toothpaste is so easy to use. Simply apply Petsmile Professional Toothpaste to your pet’s teeth. Your cat or dog’s tongue will do the rest and swirl Petsmile around their mouth. Our proprietary formula Calprox will gently dissolve the protein pellicle a bio-film that forms on your pet’s teeth which plaque and stains adhere to. Your cat or dog will love the taste and quickly learn to enjoy having their teeth cleaned on a regular basis at home. Owners even use Petsmile as a treat. Your pet will soon look forward to having their teeth cleaned daily!