Little girl playing with dog.

From routine preventive care to providing plenty of TLC, keeping a pet happy and healthy is every pet parent’s top priority, but sometimes, pet dental health slips through the cracks. The American Veterinary Dental Association estimates that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of dental disease by the time they reach age 3, so our team at Bayside Animal Hospital is here with important tips on protecting your pet’s oral hygiene. 

The Importance of Pet Oral Health

There’s more to a clean mouth than fresh puppy breath. When bacteria and food buildup on the teeth and gums, plaque and tartar begin to form. Without proper dental care, the accumulation of tartar and plaque will start to destroy the tissues supporting the teeth, leading to periodontal (gum) disease.

Left untreated, gum disease is not only painful, but it also causes infection and tooth loss. The infection can quickly take hold and spread through the bloodstream, causing damage to major organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.  

Routine Dental Check-Ups at Bayside Animal Hospital

During every wellness examination, your pet’s veterinarian will look inside your pet’s mouth for early warning signs of pet oral health concerns, such as broken or loose teeth, lumps or bumps, and bleeding gums. This will help our veterinarian determine how soon your pet needs a complete dental cleaning under anesthesia.

Pets should have professional dental visits periodically as part of their overall wellness routine. General anesthesia is needed so that the doctor can conduct a thorough examination and teeth cleaning, take digital dental X-rays, and perform extractions if necessary. 

Create a Pet Dental Routine At Home

There are things that you can do at home to protect your pet’s dental hygiene between professional cleanings. By creating a pet dental routine at home, you can significantly impact your pet’s dental health. 

Our number one oral hygiene hint is to learn toothbrushing techniques and set a goal for eventually being able to brush your pet’s teeth on a daily basis. Try these steps:

  • Start slowly. First, use just your finger (dipped in something your pet finds palatable) and see if you can touch your pet’s teeth.
  • Slowly introduce a wet toothbrush made just for pets.
  • Next, add a veterinarian-approved toothpaste.
  • Go at your pet’s pace. It takes time, patience, and plenty of praise, but try to work your way up to brushing your pet’s teeth once a day.

Other helpful hints? Try dental treats and water additives to help prevent plaque and tartar buildup on your pet’s teeth.

Schedule Your Pet’s Dental Check-Up

Pet dental health is a critical component of any preventive care plan. Contact us today for more reasons why dental check-ups are important or to schedule your pet’s examination.