Certainly, you would not go years between teeth cleanings and dental exams. Should your canine companion? Unfortunately, most people do not appreciate the importance of regular dental care for pets. You need to understand that your dog can suffer from the same dental health problems humans do. These include tooth loss, gum disease, plaque, and more.
Why Dogs Need Dental Care
When you consider that dogs need dental care the same way humans do, regular dental cleanings begin to make sense. Thanks to their low-sugar diet, dogs rarely experience cavities. However, gum disease is extremely common in dogs. It affects as many as one in three dogs before they turn three years of age.
If your canine friend develops gum disease, he/she could experience bad breath, dental pain, and tooth loss. The exact process that leads to gum disease in humans can affect your canine companion. Plaque, which consists of food, mouth cells, saliva, and other things, forms on your dog’s teeth after eating.
Left unaddressed, the buildup of plaque can lead to gum inflammation that can cause tissue decay. When it progresses deep enough, the inflammation can destroy bone, leading to tooth loss, which is the ultimate end of gum disease.
The dental infection can also spread from your dog’s gums into his/her bloodstream. Eventually, it can affect other body systems and major organs. This is why canines with severe dental issues are more likely to suffer from liver problems, diabetes, kidney problems, and heart disease.
When to Start Taking Your Dog to the Veterinarian for Teeth Cleaning
This question does not have a one-size-fits-all answer. According to veterinarians, your dog needs to be healthy enough and fully grown to undergo anesthesia. The ideal age for the first cleaning is two years, particularly for smaller breeds.
However, it is best to ask your veterinarian when to get your dog’s teeth cleaned for the first time. Most cats and dogs, based on findings by the American Veterinary Dental College, show signs of dental problems by the age of three. Left untreated, these problems can cause severe dental disease.
How Often to Get Your Dog’s Teeth Cleaned
Most veterinarians recommend annual professional teeth cleanings for most dog breeds. Every dog, however, is unique. A good pet dentist will tailor teeth cleaning sessions to your pet’s specific needs.
Some of the factors to consider include your dog’s breed, age, and current state of dental health. Some smaller breeds may need to undergo two dental cleanings per year to prevent tooth loss. Your veterinarian will recommend the most appropriate teeth cleaning interval for your dog.
How to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Healthy Between Cleanings
While you may only need to take your canine companion for yearly professional dental cleanings, you should also look after his/her teeth at home regularly. You will not be able to clean your dog’s teeth as thoroughly as a veterinarian. However, brushing his/her teeth is a beneficial activity that can keep your dog’s teeth healthy.
To learn more about teeth cleanings for dogs, visit Highland Veterinary Clinic at our office in Evansville, Indiana. You can call 812-710-4300 today to schedule an appointment.