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Dental Care for Dogs

We all realize the importance of our own dental routines to prevent the occurrence of dental disease within ourselves; dental care for our dogs is equally important. Dental disease or periodontal disease is the most widespread disease associated with 80% of dogs. It can lead to irritated gums, painful dental infections, tooth loss and can cause bacteria to travel through the bloodstream and compromise vital organs. Fortunately, with a proper dental routine designed for our pets, periodontal disease in most cases is preventable.

What are the causes of periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease starts with the build-up of plaque (a colourless film that contains bacteria) on the tooth’s surface. If the plaque is not removed or brushed away, then it can create an infection that will destroy your animal’s gums and the tissue, as well as the bone holding the teeth in place. And when leftover longer periods of time, the plaque then turns into a hard yellow or brown build-up, called tartar.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

Depending on the stage of dental disease, signs will vary. From bad breath, hard yellow or brown buildup on teeth, red and bleeding gums, difficulty eating or chewing, loss of appetite, drooling and tooth loss.

What steps can I take to prevent dental disease?

  1. Routine examinations by your veterinarian
    During all routine exams, your veterinarian will assess the oral health of your dog. By looking at and inside the mouth, they will determine if there are any signs of disease and if a more vigorous routine must be put into action. If the disease has progressed too far for at-home care to resolve it, your veterinarian may recommend a dental here at the clinic. This will include a scale and polish of the teeth and possibly removal of any teeth that cannot be saved.
  2. Regular brushing at home
    Regular brushing of your animal’s teeth is essential in removing the plaque that causes periodontal disease. Although it may sound difficult, it is fairly easy to start to brush your pet’s teeth at any age. You may have to ease into it at first, but many pets do not mind the process of brushing their teeth. Flavoured toothpaste can be bought at the front desk to make the experience more enjoyable!
  3. Dental diets
    Specially formulated diets may be used to remove the daily build up of plaque that may be missed by brushing, or for problematic pets that will not allow brushing at all. Diets such as Prescription Hill’s t/d is specially designed to remove plaque and is highly palatable.

What types of dental care for dogs do you offer at your clinic?

You may not realize that your dog’s mouth plays a large part in their overall health. Our dental services include teeth cleaning and polishing, tooth extractions and minor oral surgery. We also offer dental radiology to help us determine which teeth are causing problems. Cleaning of tartar is accomplished with an ultrasonic scaler/polisher instrument, very similar to equipment your dentist or hygienist uses. In addition, our dental procedures include the treatment of cavities, gum disease and various periodontal problems. Once the procedure is performed, all our instruments are sterilized to prevent the spread of disease between patients. Our veterinarians at West Hill Animal Clinic will do a check of your dog or cat’s teeth during each annual wellness exam and often during any of your visits.

Why is oral and dental health important?

Periodontal disease starts with the buildup of plaque (a colourless film that contains bacteria) on the tooth’s surface. If the plaque is not removed or brushed away, then it can create an infection that will destroy your animal’s gums and the tissue, as well as the bone holding the teeth in place. When leftover longer periods of time, the plaque then turns into a hard yellow or brown build-up, called tartar. Later stages of periodontal disease can lead to heart, kidney and liver disease.

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