Most people are aware of the importance of good oral hygiene. However, pet owners are just now becoming aware of how crucial this type of veterinary care in Massachusetts can be to their dog or cat’s longevity. While the good news is that pets are less likely to have cavities than humans – it’s all that sugar and processed food that we eat – they can still develop issues like tartar and plaque build-up, which can lead to gingivitis and dental disease. Dental care for pets is available at our Dartmouth animal hospital and is suggested for young and old pets alike. Studies reveal that 70-80 percent of all domestic cats and dogs have some degree of dental disease by the time they are just three years of age. Feline and canine dental care should be a priority for pet owners who want to provide their pets with a long and healthy life.

Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

Some pets are fine with regular tooth brushing, while others can be resistant. The sooner you can start when your dog is still a puppy and your cat is still a kitten, the better. However, grown pets can become comfortable with getting their teeth brushed if you ease into the process. The first thing you need to know is that it is never okay to use human toothpaste on your dog or cat. Fluoride is highly poisonous to pets and, even in small doses, can be fatal. Special pet toothpaste can be purchased through your local veterinarian or at a pet store that is formulated for cats and dogs. Special pet mouthwash is also available, added to the pet’s water to kill bacteria and reduce plaque build-up. Again, never use human products on your pet.

Annual Dental Care for Pets

Consider making an appointment with our Dartmouth animal hospital to get your pet’s teeth checked and cleaned. While we do look at your pet’s teeth during the annual check-up, a more extensive inspection and cleaning should be performed, as well. A routine cleaning allows our dental specialists to provide a proper evaluation, cleaning, polishing, and treatment of the teeth. X-rays and other imaging can also be used to determine the health of the tooth beneath the gum line. Often, a “bad tooth” is missed because it does not look bad on the surface but could be decayed entirely underneath. On the other hand, just because a tooth seems terrible on the surface, it might be saved if the lower portion of the tooth and the root is healthy.

Diet, Nutrition, and More

Studies show that dry food is better for feline and dental care than soft food. Even if your pet allows you to brush their teeth daily or once a week, dry food does not stick to teeth as much as a soft food. When food sticks to the teeth, it is more likely to add to plaque build-up and result in decay. Other ways to keep your pet’s teeth clean and strong is to provide chew bones and other chew toys, which are designed to strengthen gums and teeth. Ensure the objects your pet chews on are intended for chewing, as hard things can result in broken teeth and sore mouths. While all of these measures can help to reduce dental problems, your best bet is to schedule an appointment for a routine dental exam and cleaning to maximize veterinary care in Massachusetts.

Signs of Dental Disease

As a pet owner, you might notice changes in your pet that could indicate that they require treatment at our Dartmouth animal hospital. When it comes to dental disease, there are a few things you should watch for and contact your vet about as soon as possible. Any changes in your pet’s eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face, excessive drooling, or bumps and growths within the mouth should be checked immediately. A missing tooth, misaligned teeth, or crooked teeth, broken or discolored, can also be a red flag warning that dental disease is at work. Gums that are bleeding, painful, swollen, or red are signs of gingivitis and other serious dental issues. A build-up of tartar crust along the gumline or suddenly bad breath are also indicators that should be discussed with your veterinarian.

If you have noticed any issues like these with your pet or want to prevent dental disease from happening, contact Anchor Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment for feline or canine dental care with one of our highly trained and experienced veterinary dental technicians. You can contact our office by calling 508-996-3731. We can answer any questions you might have or help you schedule dental care for pets appointments at our Dartmouth animal hospital.