The care you provide at home is an important part of your pet's dental care. Below are some helpful tips.
If your pet will allow you to do it, and many will, brushing is the absolute best form of home dental care. The key to preventing tartar accumulation is to consistently remove plaque from the teeth. Plaque is soft and can be removed with a brush. Tartar is calcified plaque which is hard and can only be removed by professional cleaning. To be effective, you really need to brush daily, or at a minimum, every other day. There are many products available to help you with brushing your pets teeth including meat flavored tooth pastes, specially designed brushes, etc. A good time to brush is at night while your watching a favorite TV show. Spend some time visiting with your pet, and gradually introduce brushing as part of that time together. It only takes a minute, and it will have a positive impact on their health.
There are many foods that are designed specifically to help maintain good dental health. Our favorites are Hill's Prescription Diet T/D and Purina DH. Both of these products carry the VOHC seal (see below for more info on VOHC).
Treats and Chews
There are a lot of treats and chews on the market that claim to help your pet maintain good oral and dental health. So how do you know which ones actually work? Check for the VOHC Seal.
The only water additive that has been shown to be clinically effective and carries the VOHC Seal is Healthymouth. This product has been shown to significantly reduce plaque accumulation in dogs and cats.
Dental Care at PetVet Animal Health Center
Did you know that periodontal disease is the most common disease diagnosed in dogs and cats? Did you know that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 2 years have some degree of dental or periodontal disease? It's true. But because most people rarely do a close examination of their pets mouth and teeth the problem remains largely out of sight and out of mind.
Why is regular dental care important? Because, as in people, dental disease in pets has been linked to wide variety of other health problems including disease of the liver, kidneys, and heart. A recent study released in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, which reviewed records of nearly 60,000 dogs, showed a significant correlation between severity of heart disease and degree of dental diseaese in dogs. The researchers on the project concluded the following:
"The findings of this observational study, similar to epidemiologic studies in humans, suggested that periodontal disease was associated with cardiovascular-related conditions, such as endocarditis and cardiomyopathy. Chronic inflammation is probably an important mechanism connecting bacterial flora in the oral cavity of dogs with systemic disease. Canine health may be improved if veterinarians and pet owners place a higher priority on routine dental care."
On the human front, periodontal diseaese in women has been linked to low birth weights and just this year a report was published that linked the death of a fetus to the mothers periodontal disease. So as you can see, the health of your mouth plays an important role in the health of the rest of your body. The same is true for your pets.
To do a quick oral exam on your pet, follow the steps below. Be sure to pull back the lips so you can see the teeth all the way to the back of the mouth.
1. Look at the teeth. Are the teeth white and clean? If they are discolored or have accumulation of brown or yellow tartar (this tends to occur most quickly on the teeth toward the back of the mouth) on the surface then you are seeing at least the early stages of periodontal disease.
2. Are the gums pink, or are they red? Is there a bright red line along the edge of the gums next to the teeth? If so, you are seeing gingivitis, another early indicator of periodontal disease.
3. Are there broken teeth? Not only are they painful, but broken teeth allow bacteria access to the root canal system of the tooth and eventually to the bone that supports the tooth. Once into the bone, these bacteria will cause a painful tooth root abscess. Until treated this will serve as a constant source of soreness and infection in your pet's body.
What should you do if your exam reveals abnormalities (tartar, gingivitis, broken teeth)? Bring your pet by and let us help you determine the best course of treatment for your four-legged friend. In many cases a thorough professional cleaning will make a remarkable difference. It will also allow us to do a thorough exam and make sure that there are not more severe problems that would go unnoticed otherwise. Your pet's diseased or broken teeth need to be treated just as your's would. We can help you help them. Come see us.
Want to see what's involved in getting your pet's oral health up to date? Click the link below for a detailed description of what is involved with a complete dental cleaning and oral exam:
We reccommend and carry VOHC accpeted veterinary dental care products. Scroll to the bottom of
this page to learn more.
What is VOHC and why is a VOHC Seal something I should look for?
The Veterinary Oral Health Council is a group of board certified veterinary dentists that reviews research data voluntarily submitted to it by the manufacturers of products designed to improve dental health in pets. There is no regulation on these products. That means that any product can claim to help improve a pets dental health. Products that carry the VOHC Seal have been tested and proven to work as claimed. The seal above will be prominently displayed on the packaging of any VOHC accepted product. For more information on the VOHC, and for a list of VOHC accepted products, go to their website at www.vohc.org.
PetVet Animal Health Center Carries These VOHC Accepted Products:
HealthyMouth Water Additive
Purina DH diets
Hill's Prescription Diet T/D diets
Tartar Shield Soft Rawhide Chews
Why Choose PVAHC For Your Pet's Dental Care?
Because we have the training, knowledge, experience, and equipment to make sure the job is done correctly.