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If your pet has bad breath, you should get him examined for potential teeth problems. Bacteria and plaque builds up on the teeth leading to foul breath. Over time this can lead to more serious problems in you pet's mouth, like gingivitis. Did you know that oral infections can lead to systemic infections of the heart, liver and kidneys? It is important for your pet's overall health to keep on top of his dental care.
Toy breeds are especially prone to dental disease. Their small mouths and resulting crowding of teeth make these breeds much more susceptible to tartar buildup.
Most pets will require a professional dental cleaning by your veterinarian every 6 to 12 months, depending on your pet's susceptibility and the amount of home care you are able to provide. General anesthesia is required for a thorough teeth cleaning. The teeth will be cleaned and scaled with a ultrasonic scaler and polished. We will examine all of the teeth and, if necessary, take x-rays of your pet's mouth to determine the extent of the dental disease below the gum line. Most pets will be sent home on antibiotics after the cleaning to control infection present at the time of cleaning.
To keep your pet's teeth clean, you should invest in a soft toothbrush and special pet toothpaste. Don't use human toothpaste! It is not intended to be swallowed and your pet cannot spit it out! You won't be able to get in and around all the teeth, but concentrate on brushing the outside surfaces of the back molars and the canines. Brushing once daily can prevent the build up of bacteria and plaque that leads to dental disease. The younger you begin brushing your pet's teeth, the more easily he will accept it. Start by letting your pet lick the toothbrush with some of the toothpaste. Begin gradually, even one tooth a day until your pet understands. Reward when you are done!
For pets that strongly object to brushing, there are special foods and treats designed to help remove tartar. Ask for our recommendations.
Visit our library page page for more articles on pet dental care.