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Pet Dental Care

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Picture of Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

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

Importance Of Pet Dental Care?

Just like with people, cats and dogs can have bad health problems without proper care. Dogs and cats 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 bloodstream 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 To Clean Cats Teeth?

Typically, a cat’s teeth should be cleaned annually. This should start when your cat turns two, and their full baby teeth are in, ensuring that their teeth stay healthy into adulthood.

How Often To Clean Dogs Teeth?

Similar to cats, a dog’s teeth should be cleaned annually. Again this should start when the dog turns two, and their full baby teeth are in, ensuring that their teeth stay healthy into adulthood.

How Do I Know If My Dog Or Cat’s Teeth Need To Be 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.

Can Animals Get Cavities?

While it can happen, cats and dogs rarely get cavities. Instead, the big problems for pets’ oral health is periodontal disease (inflammation of the gums accompanied by loss of bone and soft tissue around teeth), gingivitis, abscesses, and tooth loss. In these cases, a lack of attention to your pet’s oral health can cause them to lose their teeth or even contract diseases through their teeth. 

How To Clean Dog Teeth?

While brushing your dog’s teeth seems like an incredibly difficult task, this is actually a great habit to build. In fact, most pet stores even carry dog-specific toothpaste and toothbrushes. Without brushing their teeth, dogs can develop diseases early on in life. The trick to brushing your dog’s teeth is to go slow and reward them with treats. Alternatively to brushing your dog’s teeth you can also buy specific chew toys and or treats that are designed to clean and sanitize their teeth.

How To Clean Cat Teeth

Similarly to dogs brushing your cat’s teeth may seem incredibly difficult, however, this is actually a great habit to build. Most pet stores even carry cat specific toothpaste and toothbrushes. Cats can develop diseases early on in life if their teeth are not properly cared for and brushed. If you brush your cat’s teeth slowly while rewarding them with treats they tend to respond well. In addition to brushing your cat’s teeth, you can also buy specific chew toys and or treats that are designed to clean and sanitize their teeth.

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. Pet dental care is rather different from that of human dental care. When you visit the dentist they can give you instructions and walk you through the process. Unfortunately for our furry friends they can not understand what is going on, therefore the anesthesia is helpful in protecting our pets during and dental care. Read more to learn more about the importance of anesthetized dental cleanings.

What Are The 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 The 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

Pet Dental Care | Ponderosa Veteranary Clinic

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 you.

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Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic is seeking an enthusiastic and caring veterinarian to work relief, part-time or full-time in our general practice. PVC is a full-service, 3+ doctor, small-animal veterinary hospital. We have established an excellent reputation for developing lasting relationships with our clients and for providing compassionate and quality care to our patients.