The mighty mouth is something we take for granted with our pets. It does its purpose, after all. But did you know there are many aspects of overall health that are directly related to good dental health? That’s right! From heart health to preventing kidney disease, the mouth plays a key role in your pet’s wellness and longevity, not to mention quality of life.

Most pet owners, however, don’t often ask questions about pet dental health, which can sometimes be a disservice to their furry loved one. In an attempt to shine a light on dental care, Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital offers a few pet dental questions every responsible pet owner should ask.

Pet Dental Questions You Should Ask

Should I brush my pet’s teeth?

While this may seem like a dental care 101 question, it’s exciting for us! This is because it shows that you’re already thinking about your pet’s dental health and gives us the opportunity to better instruct you on daily care like toothbrushing.

Toothbrushing should ideally be done daily, but we understand this may not be possible. We highly recommend brushing a few times a week. For assistance, please call us.

Many pet owners also ask about dental chews and additives, which can be helpful. Choose products that are approved by the VOHC and are soft so as not to damage teeth. Remember, while these products can be helpful, they do not replace the efficacy of daily brushing.

Is bad breath normal for pets?

There’s a long held belief that pets just naturally have smelly breath, but this is far from the truth. Halitosis in pets is most often the first symptom of bacteria and possible dental disease or other underlying conditions.

Why does my pet need cleaning?

Dental cleanings aren’t just a way to brighten your pet’s smile; they are also essential to examining the mouth below the gumline. Cleanings help remove plaque and tartar that doesn’t come off with brushing. They also polish the tooth’s surface to discourage bacteria from developing, and they allow us to take dental x-rays.

Is anesthesia necessary?

We understand this is one of the biggest unvoiced concerns among pet owners. Although it carries a small risk, anesthesia is necessary for a number of reasons. First, in order to take a complete look at your pet’s teeth, they must be sedated. During a thorough cleaning, your veterinarian performs a number of tests and procedures that rid your pet of plaque and tartar and assess whether there’s a problem below the surface of the teeth.

Anesthesia is performed using state of the art monitoring equipment and is done under the careful supervision of highly trained staff. Your pet will be cared for and monitored throughout the procedure, as well as during recovery. The benefits of these exams and cleanings far outweigh the minimal risk of sedation. While other places and practices may offer anesthesia-free options, they do not allow for a complete and thorough dental cleaning.

Why does my pet need dental x-rays?

Much like an iceberg, there’s a lot to be seen below the surface of your pet’s gumline. While probing and assessing the teeth and gums can provide a great deal of information, we can only see issues such as abscesses, resorptive lesions, and periodontal disease through the use of digital x-rays.

There are many pet dental questions owners can ask to help inform them about this important topic. Dental disease remains one of the most prevalent conditions among cats and dogs. Because of the severity of untreated dental disease, the team at Oakhurst wants to create an open dialogue with our clients to encourage a better understanding of dental health.

Please reach out to us any time. We welcome your questions!