doberman_teethbrushingPets have teeth too! We often do not think about the care of our pets’ teeth until an illness draws our attention to their mouths. Dental disease is very common in dogs and cats. If they would brush and floss twice a day, they would not have so many problems. So it becomes necessary for us to provide the needed care to keep our pets’ mouths healthy.

Understanding the importance of your pet’s dental health is a great first step for most pet owners. Your pet doesn’t have to suffer from dental disease and you don’t have to tolerate “doggy breath.” Making a dental plan with your veterinarian will not only prevent dental disease, but may stop other health problems as well.

The first step is to have your veterinarian do a complete oral exam on your pet. Note any areas of excessive tartar buildup and any other concerns, such as fractured teeth, bleeding gums or ulcerations in the mouth.

Next, if appropriate, schedule a complete dental cleaning with your veterinarian. Done under a general anesthetic, cleaning will remove the tartar and plaque, reducing bacteria that cause serious illnesses, such as heart disease, kidney disease and chronic coughs. Afterward, the teeth are polished to slow the accumulation of future tartar.

Home care is a vital part of maintaining your pet’s dental health. From routine brushing to special water additives to chew toys, your veterinarian can help make caring for your pet’s teeth easier. Some foods are even designed to help reduce plaque buildup! The best news is that these products not only reduce plaque and freshen breath; they just might help your pet live a few years longer.

Dr. Russell N. Ueckert has been providing veterinary care for animals in the Big Country for over 19 years. This article was produced in part with contributions from Veterinary News Network. For all of your veterinary needs look to www.bigcountryvets.com.