Caring for Your Pet's Oral Health
Lack of attention to your dog or cat's oral health could result in painful dental issues, periodontal disease, and even a decline in their overall health and well-being.
Taking steps to safeguard the health of your dog or cat's teeth and gums, including at-home care, regular dental exams and cleaning at your veterinarian's office, can help reduce your furry friend's risk of developing oral health problems.
Teeth Cleaning & Dental Examinations
Yearly dental checkups are an important aspect of caring for your dog or cat's overall health. Detecting oral health issues early can help prevent your furry friend from experiencing pain or discomfort due to issues such as tooth decay, broken teeth or periodontal disease.
At Admirals Walk Pet Hospital, our comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment plans include the following:
A thorough pre-anesthetic physical assessment will be completed for your pet before the dental exam.
We will take blood and urine analyses to ensure it's safe for your pet to undergo anesthesia. Additional diagnostics, such as chest radiographs or an ECG may also be conducted.
Anesthesia is administered to all patients undergoing dental procedures. This allows us to do a thorough examination and cleaning as well as capture any required x-rays safely and efficiently without undue stress on the pet.
Oral Examination & Cleaning
Once your pet is under anesthesia, we will conduct a complete, tooth-by-tooth, oral examination and charting. Their teeth will be cleaned and polished (including under the gum line) and full mouth dental x-rays will be taken.
If any oral health concerns are discovered, the veterinarian will develop a custom treatment plan, which may include dental surgery, and discuss it with you.
Follow-up Exam & Home Care
Your veterinarian may recommend a follow-up examination be scheduled two weeks after the initial appointment.
During this visit, we will discuss any concerns and provide advice on at-home care for your pet's teeth.
Dental Surgery to Restore Good Oral Health
Our Greater Victoria veterinarians perform dental surgery to repair damage or treat oral health problems in pets. Tooth extractions, and treatment for periodontal disease are some common dental surgeries performed by our veterinary team.
We do all we can to make the process as stress-free as possible for pets and their families. Anesthesia will be administered to your dog or cat during their dental surgery to ensure they are comfortable and do not experience any discomfort.
Beforehand, we will explain each step of the process to you, including preparation and post-operative care requirements, so that you fully understand why we are recommending surgery and what to expect.
Signs of Dental Health Issues in Dogs & Cats
If your companion is displaying any of the following symptoms, it's time to book them a dental checkup.
- Tartar buildup
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Bad breath
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Abnormal chewing
- Dropping food from the mouth
- Discoloured teeth
FAQs About Pet Dental Care
To learn more about pet dental care read through our answers to these frequently asked questions from our clients.
Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?
Like us, dogs and cats can develop gum disease and/or tooth decay as a consequence of poor oral health. When our pets eat, plaque sticks to their teeth and can build up into tartar if not cleaned away regularly.
Annual veterinary dental cleaning can clear away plaque and tartar, helping to prevent conditions such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, and even loose or missing teeth.
How often does my pets need their teeth cleaned?
Our Greater Victoria veterinarians recommend that dogs and cats attend dental checkups once a year. If your furry family member faces an increased risk of developing dental problems more frequent appointments may be advised.
How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?
If your dog or cat is experiencing dental problems, they may display one or more of the following signs: excessive drooling (may contain pus or blood), pawing at their mouth or teeth, repeated yawning, teeth grinding, reduced grooming, or dropping food from their mouth while eating.
Other signs of oral health problems in pets include bad breath, swollen gums, and tooth discoloration. Some pets may even stop eating and lose weight rapidly.
What long-term problems can poor oral health potentially cause in my pet?
As well as causing problems such as cavities, bad breath, and periodontal disease, dog and cat oral health problems can also lead to disease in the liver, kidney, heart, and other areas throughout your pet's body.
What should I do at home to keep my pet’s teeth clean between dental appointments?
Brushing your dog or cat's teeth regularly, and providing dental chew toys can help to control the buildup of plaque. Speak to your veterinarian to learn more about caring for your companion's teeth between veterinary appointments.
Why does my pet require anesthesia for their dental appointment?
Cats and dogs are unable to understand what is going on during dental procedures and often react by struggling or biting. Using anesthesia puts less stress on your companion and allows us to take X-rays and examine their mouth safely.
What dental issues may require dental surgery as treatment?
Dental health issues that may require surgery include cracked or broken teeth, tooth decay, severe disease of the tissue surrounding the tooth (periodontal disease), and feline stomatitis to name a few.