Taking proper care of your pet's teeth
Your pet’s oral and dental health are every bit as important for them as it is for you and the other members of your family.
"By age three, most pets will start exhibiting some signs of dental disease, plaque and tartar buildup. gingivitis, that sort of thing,” said Dr. Colleen Cassidy, a veterinarian at Rainier Veterinary Hospital.
Oral disease is preventable. The standard recommendation is a check-up twice a year. There are also a few preventive measures you can take at home.
Look for treats, chews, and dental water additives approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council.
Some dogs and some cats will let you brush their teeth, which can help remove some plaque.
Keep in mind: Your pet will have to be put under anesthesia for a thorough exam and cleaning.
“Being under anesthesia lets us look in the mouth, lets us probe around the base of each tooth and it lets us perform dental X-rays, so we can look at the roots of all of the teeth,” Dr. Cassidy said. “You can do non-anesthetic cleaning, but you're not addressing anything that might be going on under the gum line.”
Dr. Cassidy said it's very common to see pets that have had non-anesthetic cleanings with dental disease under the gum line. It was hidden until a through exam could be done when they were under anesthesia.”
Remember: Besides causing receding gums and tooth loss, bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause serious health problems.