Just like us, our pets also need their teeth brushed. Over time, calculus start to accumulate and if nothing is done to prevent its progression tartar build up can be seen. Once that stage is reached, you often will notice bad breath, swollen bleeding gum (gingivitis) and maybe pain when eating. This is called periodontal disease and is the number one disease in both dogs and cats. If one of our veterinarian diagnoses periodontal disease in your pet, the recommendation will usually be to schedule a complete dental cleaning under anesthesia.
- What is a dental cleaning and why does it cost more than when I go to the dentist?
Dental cleaning in dogs and cats is quite a bit different than in people. First of all, your pets need to be completely anesthetized for the procedure as they will not lay down immobile for 20-30min with their mouth wide open.
Second the level of periodontal disease in pets when their first dental cleaning is scheduled is significantly worse than in people. Simply imagine not brushing your teeth for even one week and you will know what we are talking about.
Since your pet has to be anesthetized, a minimum safety standard is to do a pre-anesthetic bloodwork to ensure his/her organs are working well and can process safely the anesthetic drugs used during the procedure. Your pet is monitored carefully with the latest technologies available (ECG, blood pressure, pulse oxymetry...) and will always have an Intravenous Catheter and fluid.
What can I do to prevent this from happening to my pet?
One very easy and inexpensive thing to do is simply to brush your pet's teeth daily with either a regular toothbrush or finger toothbrush and dog/cat safe to swallow toothpaste. There are also oral rinse (similar to mouth wash for people), dental chews, dental toys, prescription dental diet that can be used in conjunction with teeth brushing to further help prevent dental disease.
- For even more information on dental disease check our blog with the Castro Valley Patch.