Food particles and bacteria frequently collect around the gum-line of cats and dogs. This build-up forms into plaque. These particles can be removed with routine home dental care products made specifically for animals. With time and no dental care, this plaque turns to tartar, which adheres strongly to teeth. Tartar is irritating and painful and can cause gingivitis, which appears as inflammation and redness of the gums. It also causes bad breath, which is sometimes the easiest way to tell that your pet has a problem. At this point a professional cleaning is necessary using special equipment and polish.
If action is not taken to remove tartar, it begins to build up under the gums and create pockets that encourage even more bacteria growth. This is called periodontal disease and it is irreversible. It can lead to the loss of teeth, bone loss, abscesses and infection. It also has more serious implications if bacteria continues to grow and enters the bloodstream. This can cause infections in major organs such as the kidneys, liver and heart valves.
Starting early with preventative measures will help impede the progression of dental disease. Daily brushing to remove plaque and tartar is ideal. Make sure to use toothpaste specifically made for pets. For pets that hate having their teeth brushed Deer Velvet Dental Drops can be squirted directly onto the gums and teeth with no brushing required, or mixed with coconut oil to make a paste.
Cats can be given raw or steamed chicken gizzards, which contain a tough layer of koilin. This natural toothbrush will help scrape plaque and tartar off your cat’s teeth as he or she chews the gizzards.
For dogs, raw meaty bones like beef marrow bones that are sold at the grocery store can help scrape tartar off teeth while entertaining your dog. Discard bones after a day or so of chewing, before the bone dries out and becomes brittle. Make sure you always watch your dog while he chews and never give any pet cooked bones, as these can splinter and cause injury.
There is no evidence that dry food and hard crunchy treats (even those labeled as dental food or treats) actually do anything to help prevent the buildup of tartar. Many pets don’t chew kibbles, but rather swallow them whole. Even when they do chew dry food and treats, pieces can get stuck between teeth causing more tartar to cling to teeth and gums. Many dry foods and crunchy treats are made from wheat or corn, which are low quality filler ingredients that can be harmful to your pet’s overall health as well. Anything not “All Natural” can also contain chemicals and dyes which can lead to the degeneration of tooth enamel.
Everyone knows how it feels to go a few days without brushing your teeth. It feels gritty, disgusting and generally uncomfortable. Now imagine going months or even years without it! Our dogs and cats are sensitive to how they feel, and it effects their mood, happiness and health just as much as it would ours. Proper dental care is imperative to the wellbeing of an animal.
What happens before and during a dental cleaning?
- Come for an appointment with the doctor to evaluate your pet’s teeth.
- Bring your pet on the scheduled day of the dental at the given drop off time.
- The technician will go over all admitting forms with you and get an accurate history of your pet.
- The technician will print an estimate for you to sign, complete with emergency numbers where you can be reached.
- Your pet is placed in a cage on a blanket or towel with an identification card on the door.
- A certified technician will document all information in the patient’s record including anesthesia, pain meds, antibiotics, and IV fluid rate.
- If lab-work has not been done ahead of time, two technicians will draw blood to be run on our in-house blood machine and analyzed by a doctor.
- An EKG is run by attaching electrodes to each leg. A printout is made of the electrical activity of the heart and analyzed by a doctor.
- An IV catheter is placed in a front or hind leg and fluids are administered at the appropriate rate.
- IV anesthesia is given, the pet is intubated, and gas anesthesia administered.
- Monitoring equipment is hooked up to the pet to continuously evaluate blood pressure and heart rate.
- The pet’s teeth are assessed and dental xrays are performed.
- Their teeth are cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler, polished, and fluorinated. Any necessary extractions are performed and charted.
- When the procedure is complete and your pet is waking up, a technician will call you with an update and set up a discharge time.
- At discharge the dental technician will discuss the procedures performed, medications, and aftercare instructions.