Pet Dental Care: FAQ

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Dental care for us humans can be pretty straight forward—brushing teeth regularly, going to check-ups, and even flossing. But for our pets, things can get complicated. What exactly do our dogs and cats need to have good dental care? As a vet in Colorado Springs, we get a lot of questions when it comes to taking care of our pet’s teeth. Things like “Does my dog’s teeth need to be cleaned?” or “What does dental work mean for a cat?” are all important things to know as a pet owner. Check out this FAQ that we’ve put together on some of the basics on pet dental care and give us a call to learn more!

graphic showing pet dental health faq

Why is pet dental care important?

Just like with people, cats and dogs can have bad health problems without the proper care. Pets need regular teeth cleanings and check-ups, to avoid conditions such as periodontal disease or broken teeth. In fact, dental problems can be very serious for your pet. If they get an infection, it can easily get into their blood stream and cause serious illness. That’s why dental care should be a part of your regular veterinary agenda for both cats and dogs. Getting regular cleanings can help prevent long term issues from starting in the first place.

How often should pet’s teeth be cleaned?

Typically, pet’s teeth should be cleaned annually. This should start when cats or dogs turn two, and their full baby teeth are in, ensuring that their teeth stay healthy into adulthood.

How do I know if my pet’s teeth need cleaned?

There will be some sure signs that it’s time for a cleaning, even if the yearly mark hasn’t hit yet. For example, if your cat or dog has bad breath, yellowing teeth, bleeding gums, or a change in eating habits, they might need dental care. Be sure to watch for the warning signs, and take your pet in to see a vet when you notice.

Do pets get cavities?

While it can happen, cats and dogs rarely get cavities. Instead, the big problems for pets are periodontal disease (inflammation of the gums accompanied with loss of bone and soft tissue around teeth), gingivitis, abscesses and tooth loss.

Should I try and brush my pet’s teeth?

While brushing your pet’s teeth seems like an incredibly difficult task, this is actually a great habit to build. In fact, most pet stores even carry pet toothpaste and toothbrushes. Without brushing their teeth, pets can develop disease early on in life. The trick to brushing your pet’s teeth is to go slow and reward them with treats.

Why does my pet need anesthesia for dental work?

It’s generally a good practice to give pets anesthesia for dental work. Cats and dogs move around so much because they don’t understand what’s going on, and this constant movement could cause improper care or injury. With anesthesia, your pet won’t hurt or feel scared by the work being done, and they can receive the best care possible.

What are common dental problems with dogs?

· Plaque and tartar build-up

· Bad breath

· Toothaches

· Baby Teeth that haven’t fallen out

· Periodontal disease (infection of the gums) & Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)

· Illness caused by dental infection

What are common dental problems with cats?

· Periodontal Disease & Gingivitis

· Bad Breath

· Fractured Teeth

· Feline Stomatitis (severe and painful inflammation of the tissue around the oral cavity)

· Oral cancer (in severe cases, masses can actually develop in your cat’s mouth. It is important to get it inspected by a vet if you discover any lumps in the oral cavity of your cat.)

· Illness caused by dental infection

Need to Schedule a Dental Care Appointment for your Pet?

Give us a call here at Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic! Dental care for dogs and cats is one of our primary specialties as a vet in Colorado Springs. If you suspect that your dog needs their teeth cleaned, or that your cat has an irritated tooth, or any other reason, schedule an appointment. We can check out the situation, and schedule a cleaning or oral surgery if needed. We keep our services affordable for you, and make sure to deliver kind and compassionate care to your furry one. If you want to know more about us or schedule an appointment with one of our experienced veterinary specialists, contact us. We look forward to meeting with you.

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