Oral health for pets includes regular care and occasional cleanings. Just like people, animal’s health requires basic oral care. Having too much tartar build up can cause gingivitis and other health conditions. Bacteria from the gums can lead to bacteria getting into the bloodstream and damaging organs. Here are a few things you can do:
Know Your Pet and Do Self Exams
If you have a small pet, you need to pay attention to their teeth just like you would a dog or cat. Some rodent’s teeth become yellow and this in normal. Do research to get pictures of what healthy teeth look like. Small rodents with teeth problems may grow overbites that need to be clipped. Cat’s and dog’s teeth can get tartar growing and need to have it removed from time to time. If you have a small dog like a terrier, it may be a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about doing a cleaning as teeth problems in some breeds are more common. Proper oral health includes providing your pet with pet appropriate chewing toys or branches.
Brushing Your Pets Teeth
According to statistics, only about 5% of pet owners brush their dog’s or cat’s teeth. Part of the problem is that is takes a lot of patience to get your pet used to brushing. With a little patience and perseverance, you can do it. Start out by gently rubbing your pet’s teeth with your finger. Do this for a few seconds at first if that’s all they can tolerate. Make this a routine by doing it at the same time and same place every day. Follow the ritual with a treat reserved for this time. After a week or so, depending on your pet, you can begin introducing the toothbrush and toothpaste. It is ok if the pet chews on the brush. Dogs will sometimes lick the toothpaste and that is ok too. Don’t attempt at this point to brush the teeth. After about a week or two, depending on the pet, you can begin brushing the outside of the teeth. Brush the top teeth first and begin on one side. Start by moving the brush back and forth or in circular motions. Be sure and brush next to the gums where the gums and teeth meet. Repeat this process on both sides and then brush the incisors in the front.
Go slow. Never use human toothpaste as it can cause upset stomach and isn’t always enjoyed.
Dental Surgery and Oral Health For Pets
If your veterinarian in Lexington determines your pet needs surgical dental cleaning, you can rest assured your pet is in good hands. Having dental surgery does require anesthesia. More than likely your pet will need presurgical blood work to determine if he or she is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. On the day of the surgery your pet may receive an injection to make them calm for the procedure. A surgical technician will be with your pet for the entire process. He or she will monitor your pet’s blood pressure, respiration rate, heart rate and temperature. A complete exam of your pet’s teeth will reveal any problems that will be addressed. After the procedure is over, your pet will wake up and be cuddled and kept warm.
If you have any questions about oral health for pets, your Lexington veterinary clinic, Locust Trace will be happy to help you. Call today to schedule an exam or ask any questions you may have.