Dental Disease: Why is it so important?
This is a conversation that I find myself having with about 60% of my clients. A lot of owners are unaware of how big an impact dental disease can have on their dog’s health and how quickly it can develop. The goal of this blog is to raise owner awareness about dental disease and the necessity of routine dentals. Firstly, let me give you a good image of dental disease before and after treatment.
Other than bad breath, dental disease can strongly affect your pet’s health, and maintaining their teeth could actually prolong their lifespan. Studies have shown that severe dental disease can lead to systemic bacterial infections and cause serious liver or heart conditions. Dogs and cats are very good at hiding signs of pain, but imagine how painful it would be if you had an infected tooth.
These are some signs that indicate dental disease in your pet:
- BAD BREATH!
- Discoloration of their teeth
- Excessive drooling or dropping food when eating
- Leaving a meal unfinished or reluctance to eat hard food.
While the health benefits are definitely worth it, we also sympathize with our clients when it comes to paying for a dental. As a new graduate with an equally fresh load of student loans to pay off I can understand that the expense is hard to swallow…no pun intended… Dentals truly become expensive when multiple teeth need to be surgically extracted. This is why it’s beneficial to both your pet and pocketbook to schedule a preventative dental cleaning before the problem starts and at your veterinarian’s first recommendation. Please let us know if you have a financial concern.
Prevention of Dental Disease:
While brushing your dog’s teeth is certainly admirable, it may not be enough to prevent dental disease. Tartar on a dogs teeth turns to a cement plaque after about 12 hours in the mouth and thickens as more and more layers of tartar are added. Once the plaque has hardened no amount of brushing will remove it.
Treats such as Dentasticks or Greenies are helpful in removing that soft layer of tartar when given regularly. Another option to consider is hard chew bones or a dental diet. Unfortunately these treats are not enough to remove the plaque cement once it has hardened. Just a heads up for our small breed owners; smaller dog breeds such as Yorkies, Dachshunds, and Chihuahuas are predisposed to dental disease.
If your pet is older and you have concerns about the anesthesia; let me put your mind at ease. Dental disease in older dogs is incredibly common and we take extra steps as a precaution. These include pre-surgical bloodwork, special induction protocols and shortened anesthesia times. Dentals are only recommended for older dogs if the patient would really benefit from it.
If you have questions about a preventative dental cleaning for your pet please feel free to give us a call! 573-893-7707.
Your Other Family Doctor!