Taking care of a pet goes beyond giving your favorite four-legged buddy walks, healthy food, and quality snuggles. It extends to dental care, a practice most pet owners typically put on the back burner.
However, the tide seems to be turning. In recent years, statistics indicate more pet owners are paying attention to the oral health of their pets. Between 2006 and 2016, the percentage of dog owners who purchased dental products for their pups rose from 29% to 43%. And, pet owners are eager to learn more about their furry friend’s dental health, as indicated by the fact that online searches for the topic increased by 26% in recent years.
With that in mind, here are five things you should know about your pet’s dental health.
Pets need cleanings every year.
While smaller dog breeds may require twice-yearly professional dental cleanings, due to overcrowding issues and shallower roots, most dogs and cats should get a dental cleaning by their veterinarian once a year.
Dental disease sets in early.
By the time most dogs and cats are 3, many are already living with some degree of dental disease. If dental disease goes untreated, it can cause pain and inflammation. However, animals need to be full-grown to undergo a dental cleaning, so it is recommended they don’t have a cleaning before the age of 2.
Anesthesia is necessary.
In order to properly deep clean your pet’s teeth and prevent dental disease, anesthesia will be needed for the procedure. It makes it easier for the veterinarian and less stressful on the animal. Our practice at Dr. Kelly’s requires preoperative blood work for pets over the age of 10 and recommends it for dogs and cats of any age, but we understand that may be cost-prohibitive. Please know that your pet may be lethargic and thirsty after their procedure.
Plaque can be dangerous.
Proper dental health has benefits beyond clean teeth and fresh breath. Plaque below the gumline on dogs and cats may prompt bacterial infections that could spread to other parts of the body, including the heart and kidneys.
Home care is essential.
To prevent dental damage in the first place, and to maintain dental health in between cleanings, owners are encouraged to brush their pets’ teeth every day. Make sure to use a toothpaste formulated specifically for animals and choose a toothbrush that works for you — be it a finger brush or other style your dog or cat likes. It’s also important to introduce dental treats and toys into your pet’s world and scrutinize the ingredients in the food you give to your favorite little buddy. It’s a good bet to stay away from food that is high in starch.
Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit is a trusted veterinary team serving the Phoenix, Peoria, and Tucson metro areas, with accessible locations in each market, offering affordable surgery, affordable spay and neuter procedures, and affordable dental care for pets. Contact us to learn more about our affordable services and our accessible appointments.