Oswego Veterinary Hospital
Nurturing the Human-Animal Bond
Sometimes statistics get boring, and we know that, but sometimes they can save a life...
Even minor dental infections can cause serious health problems, including damage to the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and brain. The best place to start your hygiene program is at your veterinarian's office. Our experienced doctors will evaluate your pet's oral health at every exam. This way we can find detect health problems before they start. Discovering whether your pet has dental disease is simple. Some signs to look for are:
Bad breath - one of the first signs of dental disease.
A yellowish brown crust of plaque on the teeth near the gum-line.
Red and swollen gums.
Pain or bleeding when eating or when mouth or gums are touched.
Once your pet has periodontal disease, our doctors can recommend a treatment regimen that is right for your pet. Often this will include blood work to detect any potential problems before sedating your pet for cleaning of the teeth.
A thorough dental prophylaxis includes scaling, sub-gingival curetting, ultrasonic cleaning and polishing. Sedation is needed to keep all of the veterinarian's and assistant's fingers intact during the procedure.
HOW TO KEEP YOUR PET'S TEETH HEALTHY!
Unfortunately there is not one easy way to keep your pet's teeth clean. As with humans, an animal's dental health requires care on many levels. Imagine what your mouth would look like if you never went to the dentist and avoided brushing your teeth for years on end!
Below we list specific methods for keeping your pet's teeth healthy. We recommend instituting as many of the following methods as is possible. Even if you are able to perform all of these, your pet will still need regular dental assessments and cleanings under anesthesia, but the goal is to be able to extend the amount of time between procedures.
1. Brush the teeth regularly. Ideally, start when the animal is young, but it is never too late to start!
2. Feed a dry hard kibble (unless a soft food is medically indicated). Animals on soft diets accumulate plaque more readily than those on dry foods. Several diets are specially formulated for preventing the accumulation of tartar. We recommend Royal Canin prescription dental diet for cats and dogs. It is a larger than normal kibble that mechanically removes plaque from the surface of the tooth as it is chewed. Diets will NOT, however, remove plaque and bacteria from below the gumline. Brushing or professional cleaning by your veterinarian under anesthesia is the only way to penetrate under the gumline.
3. Encourage chewing with chew toys and treats. Many cats enjoy the feline Greenie treats. Dogs should always be supervised with chew toys and treats so that they do not bite off and swallow large chunks. We recommend CET enzymatic chews and canine Greenies. Always use the size appropriate to your pet's weight. If it is so small your pet can swallow the treat whole, it defeats the purpose of using it.
4. Regularity is the key to maintaining a home dental hygiene program. It is much more likely dental care will be neglected if it is done on an occasional basis only. Brush your pet's teeth when you do your own, or have your children do it when they do theirs. Most dogs, and some cats, come to enjoy it and will actually come sit next to you if they hear you brushing your teeth to await their own brushing. Use dental treats every night after dinner, to help clean off residual food before your pet retires for the night. Use dental treats for cats after brushing to reward the behavior.
**If you would like a brushing demonstration or a review of available treats, brushes, toothpastes, and diets, please feel free to call and request a complimentary dental hygiene appointment with one of our dentistry nurses.**
Oswego Veterinary Hospital
590 SW Third St
Lake Oswego, OR 97034