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Dog Dental Care: How to Care For Your Dog's Teeth

Your pup's oral health impacts their overall health. That is why it's key that you help to ensure your dog's teeth and gums remain clean and healthy. Here, our Des Moines vets share some of the ways you can help to keep your pup's mouth in good condition. 

Why should I worry about my dog's teeth?

Your dog's dental health, like human teeth, is inextricably linked to their overall physical health and well-being. Unfortunately, periodontal disease and tooth decay are common in dogs, even in puppies. Because bacteria can travel from your dog's mouth throughout their body, affecting their internal organs, these oral health issues can have serious consequences. As a result, it's critical to keep your pet's mouth clean and healthy.

How can I keep my dog’s teeth clean?

Pet parents play an important role in helping their pup fight against dental disease. Here are some tips for maintaining your dog's oral health:

  • Make daily brushing a part of your dog’s oral health routine. Use a finger brush or dog-specific toothbrush to remove any plaque or debris from your pup's teeth. If your dog isn't a fan of having their teeth brushed it may help to apply a small amount of canine toothpaste to the brush. These products come in a range of flavors your pooch will love.
  • Use plaque prevention products recommended by your vet by applying them to you pet's teeth and gums. These will help to prevent plaque buildup from occurring between professional cleanings
  • Give your canine companion dental treats, food or chews designed to help keep plaque buildup and tartar away.

Why does my dog need professional teeth cleaning?

While maintaining your at-home oral healthcare routine is incredibly important (as well as supplementing it with dental treats or chews), seeing your vet regularly for a professional cleaning is the missing piece of the puzzle for preventing the buildup of plaque and tartar and ensuring your dog's mouth stays clean and healthy.

Without this annual cleaning, plaque can build up on the teeth, causing bad breath, gingivitis, and eventually periodontal disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. This can also have serious consequences for your dog's overall health, as periodontal disease can lead to heart disease (when bacteria enters the bloodstream through the mouth, it can infect other organs).

Dental care is an essential part of your pet's overall physical health and wellbeing. Schedule your pup's annual physical and dental checkup appointment today. Your dog will thank you. 

What happens during professional teeth cleaning?

We recommend booking an annual dental checkup for your dog. You may need to bring them in more frequently if they are prone to dental problems.

Your veterinarian will perform an oral health evaluation, looking for signs of dental problems, including:

  • Bad breath
  • Discolored teeth
  • Plaque or tartar buildup
  • Extra teeth or baby teeth that have been retained
  • Swelling, pain, or bleeding in or around the mouth
  • Loose or broken teeth

You can also take this opportunity to let your vet know if you’ve noticed any symptoms such as drooling, dropping food from the mouth, reduced appetite (which could indicate your dog is experiencing pain in his teeth), or abnormal chewing.

Your vet will determine whether or not your pet is safe for anesthesia and perform any additional required diagnostics. Once your pet is safely anesthetized, we will conduct a comprehensive oral exam and charting. 

Their teeth will be cleaned and polished while they are asleep (in addition to their gum line). To combat plaque, the veterinarian will probe and radiograph each tooth, then apply a fluoride treatment before applying a dental sealant. If we discover advanced periodontal disease, we will create a personalized treatment plan to help restore your pet's oral health.

Has your dog has their smile examined and cleaned in the last year? Book your appointment with Des Moines Veterinary Hospital today. Our vets are able to help to restore and maintain your furry friend's optimal oral health.

Welcoming Your Pets to Our Animal Hospital 

Des Moines Veterinary Hospital welcomes cats, dogs, fish, small mammals, and their owners to our clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Des Moines companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

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