Pet Dental Health

By August 24, 2018Uncategorized

If​ ​your​ ​pets​ ​are​ ​anything​ ​like​ ​mine,​ ​chances​ ​are​ ​they​ ​love​ ​food.​ ​​ ​Unfortunately,​ ​so​ ​do​ ​bacteria! And​ ​when​ ​food​ ​gets​ ​stuck​ ​in​ ​the​ ​crevices​ ​between​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​teeth​ ​or​ ​below​ ​the​ ​gum​ ​line, bacteria​ ​take​ ​advantage​ ​of​ ​that​ ​ready​ ​supply.​ ​​ ​To​ ​make​ ​matters​ ​worse,​ ​pets​ ​rarely​ ​agree​ ​to​ ​brush their​ ​own​ ​teeth.​ ​​ ​Your​ ​pet’s​ ​mouth​ ​is​ ​therefore​ ​the​ ​equivalent​ ​of​ ​a​ ​bacterial​ ​sanctuary​ ​–​ ​safe, secure,​ ​and​ ​with​ ​plenty​ ​of​ ​food.​ ​​ ​How​ ​then​ ​do​ ​we​ ​protect​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​teeth​ ​and​ ​gums​ ​against otherwise-inevitable​ ​decay?

The​ ​first​ ​and​ ​most​ ​important​ ​item​ ​is​ ​done​ ​at​ ​home​ ​–​ ​brushing!​ ​​ ​Brushing​ ​provides​ ​the​ ​same benefits​ ​for​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​dental​ ​health​ ​that​ ​it​ ​does​ ​for​ ​us:​ ​namely,​ ​it​ ​can​ ​remove​ ​the​ ​sticky​ ​film​ ​of plaque​ ​from​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​teeth​ ​before​ ​it​ ​hardens​ ​into​ ​tartar,​ ​and​ ​it​ ​can​ ​reduce​ ​the​ ​number​ ​of bacteria​ ​in​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​mouth.​ ​​ ​While​ ​pet​ ​dental​ ​treats​ ​and​ ​water​ ​additives​ ​can​ ​help​ ​to​ ​a​ ​certain degree,​ ​a​ ​good​ ​pet​ ​toothpaste​ ​and​ ​brush​ ​are​ ​far​ ​more​ ​effective​ ​at​ ​keeping​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​mouth​ ​clean.

If​ ​you’ve​ ​never​ ​brushed​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​teeth​ ​before,​ ​or​ ​if​ ​you​ ​have​ ​tried​ ​and​ ​had​ ​little​ ​success,​ ​here are​ ​some​ ​tips​ ​that​ ​hopefully​ ​will​ ​make​ ​the​ ​process​ ​easier:

  1. Obtain​ ​a​ ​proper​ ​toothbrush​ ​and​ ​toothpaste.​ ​​ ​Even​ ​children’s​ ​brushes​ ​are​ ​generally​ ​too hard​ ​for​ ​your​ ​pet.​ ​​ ​The​ ​ideal​ ​brush​ ​will​ ​be​ ​pet-specific​ ​with​ ​a​ ​handle​ ​long​ ​enough​ ​to​ ​reach​ ​your pet’s​ ​back​ ​teeth​ ​and​ ​extra​ ​soft​ ​bristles.​ ​​ ​Smaller​ ​dogs​ ​and​ ​cats​ ​may​ ​benefit from​ ​a​ ​finger​ ​brush. Pet​ ​toothpaste​ ​should​ ​contain​ ​an​ ​enzyme​ ​to​ ​help​ ​control​ ​plaque.​ ​​ ​It is​ ​best​ ​not​ ​to​ ​use​ ​a​ ​human toothpaste,​ ​as​ ​they​ ​may​ ​contain​ ​ingredients​ ​that​ ​are​ ​not​ ​good​ ​for​ ​your​ ​pet.
  2. Start​ ​early!​ ​​ ​Most​ ​pets​ ​are​ ​accepting​ ​of​ ​tooth​ ​brushing​ ​when​ ​they​ ​are​ ​young. However,​ ​even​ ​adult​ ​pets​ ​can​ ​learn​ ​to​ ​accept​ ​the​ ​brushing​ ​process​ ​if​ ​you​ ​start​ ​off​ ​slow​ ​and provide​ ​lots​ ​of​ ​praise​ ​when​ ​finished.​ ​​ ​You​ ​can​ ​begin​ ​the​ ​acclimation​ ​process​ ​by​ ​using​ ​a​ ​cloth​ ​or gauze​ ​square​ ​to​ ​wipe​ ​the​ ​teeth​ ​at​ ​first.​ ​​ ​Praise​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​both​ ​during​ ​and​ ​after​ ​the​ ​process.​ ​​ ​You can​ ​also​ ​offer​ ​dental-friendly​ ​treats​ ​after​ ​brushing​ ​(dental​ ​chews​ ​or​ ​green​ ​beans).​ ​​ ​Do​ ​this​ ​process twice​ ​a​ ​week​ ​until​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​is​ ​acclimated.​ ​​ ​Next,​ ​start​ ​using​ ​the​ ​toothbrush​ ​soaked​ ​in​ ​warm​ ​water. Use​ ​the​ ​brush​ ​on​ ​a​ ​daily​ ​basis,​ ​first​ ​on​ ​a​ ​small​ ​area​ ​of​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​mouth​ ​and​ ​gradually​ ​increasing the​ ​treated​ ​area​ ​until​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​tolerates​ ​having​ ​its​ ​entire​ ​mouth​ ​brushed.​ ​​ ​Once​ ​your​ ​pet​ ​accepts having​ ​its​ ​mouth​ ​brushed​ ​with​ ​warm water,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​time​ ​to​ ​add​ ​the​ ​toothpaste.
  3. Use​ ​good​ ​brushing​ ​technique.​ ​​ ​Try​ ​to​ ​get​ ​the​ ​toothpaste​ ​between​ ​the​ ​bristles​ ​of​ ​the brush.​ ​​ ​Pay​ ​most​ ​attention​ ​to​ ​the​ ​outsides​ ​of​ ​the​ ​teeth.​ ​​ ​Place​ ​the​ ​bristles​ ​at​ ​a​ ​roughly​ ​45​ ​degree angle​ ​where​ ​the​ ​gums​ ​meet​ ​the​ ​tooth,​ ​and​ ​brush​ ​in​ ​an​ ​oval​ ​pattern.​ ​​ ​Cover​ ​three​ ​to​ ​four​ ​teeth​ ​at​ ​a time,​ ​and​ ​gently​ ​brush​ ​ten​ ​times​ ​in​ ​an​ ​oval​ ​pattern​ ​before​ ​moving​ ​to​ ​the​ ​next​ ​area.

The​ ​second​ ​aspect​ ​of​ ​pet​ ​dental​ ​care​ ​is​ ​the​ veterinary​ ​dental​ ​cleaning​.​ ​​ ​The​ ​process​ ​is​ ​actually much​ ​more​ ​than​ ​a​ ​cleaning,​ ​as​ ​it​ ​involves​ ​a​ ​thorough​ ​assessment​ ​and​ ​charting​ ​of​ ​the​ ​mouth​ ​and teeth;​ ​scaling​ ​off​ ​tartar​ ​above​ ​and​ ​below​ ​the​ ​gum​ ​line;​ ​and​ ​polishing​ ​the​ ​teeth​ ​after​ ​cleaning. Veterinarians​ ​refer​ ​to​ ​the​ ​process​ ​as​ ​the​ ​oral​ ​ATP,​ ​which​ ​stands​ ​for​ ​comprehensive​ ​oral assessment,​ ​treatment​ ​and​ ​prevention.

As​ ​many​ ​owners​ ​know,​ ​the​ ​ATP​ ​sometimes​ ​involves​ ​the​ ​extraction​ ​of​ ​diseased​ ​teeth​ ​as​ ​well. The​ ​roots​ ​of​ ​a​ ​dog​ ​or​ ​cat’s​ ​teeth​ ​can​ ​be​ ​quite​ ​well-anchored.​ ​​ ​When​ ​necessary,​ ​we​ ​utilize​ ​surgical extraction​ ​techniques​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​all​ ​of​ ​the​ ​tooth,​ ​including​ ​root​ ​tips,​ ​are​ ​extracted.​ ​​ ​We​ ​will discuss​ ​all​ ​aspects​ ​of​ ​tooth​ ​extraction​ ​and​ ​post-operative​ ​care​ ​in​ ​the​ ​event​ ​extractions​ ​are warranted.

A​ ​proper​ ​ATP​ ​is​ ​performed​ ​under​ ​anesthesia,​ ​as​ ​no​ ​self-respecting​ ​cat​ ​or​ ​dog​ ​will​ ​allow​ ​someone to​ ​remove​ ​tartar​ ​from​ ​underneath​ ​the​ ​gum​ ​line​ ​while​ ​awake.​ ​​ ​North​ ​Hills​ ​Animal​ ​Hospital​ ​& Resort​ ​takes​ ​pride​ ​in​ ​the​ ​precautionary​ ​steps​ ​we​ ​take​ ​ensure​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​cleaning​ ​is​ ​safe​ ​and worry-free.​ ​​ ​Please​ ​feel​ ​free​ ​to​ ​ask​ ​one​ ​of​ ​​our​ ​veterinarians​​ ​or​ ​​technicians​​ ​about​ ​our​ ​anesthetic protocols​ ​–​ ​we​ ​will​ ​be​ ​glad​ ​to​ ​discuss​ ​them​ ​with​ ​you.

Daily​ ​brushing,​ ​plus​ ​an​ ​oral​ ​ATP​ ​when​ ​needed,​ ​provide​ ​the​ ​best​ ​chance​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​your​ ​pet’s​ ​mouth clean,​ ​healthy​ ​and​ ​smelling​ ​fresh.​ ​​ ​North​ ​Hills​ ​Animal​ ​Hospital​ ​&​ ​Resort​ ​carries​ ​a​ ​range​ ​of dental​ ​products​ ​for​ ​your​ ​pet,​ ​including​ ​toothpaste,​ ​brushes​ ​and​ ​treats.​ ​​ ​We​ ​also​ ​offer​ ​a​ ​discount on​ ​dental​ ​cleanings​ ​during​ ​the​ ​months​ ​of​ ​February​ ​and​ ​October.​ ​​ ​​Let’s​ ​work​ ​together​ ​to​ ​keep your​ ​pet’s​ ​teeth​ ​pearly​ ​white!

Leave a Reply