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How often do dogs need a dental cleaning?

Tooth decay and gum disease are just as common in dogs as they are in humans. As a result, brushing your dog's teeth is an important part of maintaining your dog's overall health. Our Poway vets explain how to clean a dog's mouth and keep his teeth in good shape in today's post.

Do dogs need their teeth cleaned?

The oral health of your dog is crucial to their overall well-being. By the time they reach the age of three, dogs are often showing signs of periodontal disease (gum disease). This early onset of dental disease can have serious long-term health consequences for them.

Periodontal disease and heart disease have been linked in human studies, and this appears to be true for our pets as well.

In dogs, the association between heart disease and periodontal disease is caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream through the mouth and causing harm to the heart and other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more visible difficulties of gum disease and missing or broken teeth, both of which cause discomfort.

Where can I get my dog's teeth cleaned?

While dental treats and at-home oral health care routines can help your dog's teeth stay clean and control plaque and tartar buildup, bringing your dog to the vet for an annual dental exam and hygiene cleaning is the best way to ensure that his mouth stays clean and healthy.

Neglecting annual professional cleaning could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay, and tooth loss.

What are the risks of dog teeth cleaning?

Any surgery requiring anesthesia carries risks, which is why our veterinarians assess all pets to verify that they are healthy enough to manage anesthesia and, if necessary, perform extra diagnostics to ensure that your pet is safe for a dental exam while anesthetic.

When should I get my dog's teeth cleaned?

To help prevent your dog from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease, our Poway vets at Best Friends Veterinary Hospital recommend bringing your dog in for a dental appointment at least once each year, or more frequently if they are suffering from more severe or recurring dental problems.

What will happen during my dog's dental cleaning appointment?

When you bring your dog to Best Friends Veterinary Hospital for a dental checkup our vets will perform a full oral examination for your pooch and check for signs of dental issues, such as:

  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Bleeding around the mouth
  • Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
  • Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose or
  • Broken teeth
  • Bad breath

If you observe signs of dental problems or periodontal disease in your dog, such as a decreased appetite (which could suggest tooth pain), odd chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, poor breath, or other symptoms, contact your veterinarian straight once to schedule a dental exam. Oral health issues can grow severe if left untreated, giving your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort.

We will perform a full tooth-by-tooth examination, complete with charting after your pet has been safely sedated (just like your dentist does during your examinations).

We will thoroughly clean and polish your dog's teeth, both above and below the gum line, while he is safely and comfortably anesthetized. We probe and x-ray the teeth, then use a fluoride treatment to help prevent future decay and damage, followed by a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.

If your pooch is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a pain-free and healthy state.

How long does it take for a dog to recover from teeth cleaning?

Although every dog is different, you can expect your dog to begin recovering from the anesthetic within a few hours, though in some circumstances it may take up to 48 hours. During this period, your dog may appear tired and have a diminished appetite.

How much does dog teeth cleaning cost?

The cost of dog dental cleaning varies greatly depending on several factors, including your dog's size, the condition of his teeth, where you live, and your veterinarian. To get an accurate estimate for having your dog's teeth cleaned, contact your veterinarian.

More invasive and costly procedures - including surgeries - could, however, be avoided with regular veterinary dental care. Regular dental treatment can allow your veterinarian to prevent advanced tooth decay and gum disease, which can cause pain, tooth loss, and jaw deterioration.

Should I be cleaning my dog's teeth?

As a pet owner, you may play an important part in helping your dog combat dental problems. Here are a few easy ways to keep your dog's mouth healthy, as well as how to brush your dog's teeth:

  • Brush your pet's teeth daily with a finger brush from your vet or a child's toothbrush to remove any plaque or debris. Brushing your teeth is all it takes. If your dog is resistant to having its teeth cleaned, try some doggie toothpaste with flavors that your dog will love. These unique kinds of toothpaste can transform a chore into a pleasure.
  • Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.

Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment today, your dog will thank you. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog suffering from dental health issues? Contact our Poway vets right away to book an examination for your four-legged friend. 

New Patients Welcome

Best Friends Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Poway companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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