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Dog Dental Care: How to Clean Your Dog's Teeth

Tooth decay and gum disease are as problematic and painful for dogs as they are for people. That's why cleaning your dog's teeth and professional dental care should be a part of your dog's annual preventive healthcare. Our Harrisburg vets explain how to clean your dog's mouth and prevent oral health issues from developing.

Is dental care for dogs really necessary?

Your dog's oral health is an essential element of their overall health and wellbeing. Our canine companions often begin showing signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) by the time they reach about 3 years of age. This early start to dental disease can have serious negative consequences for their long-term health. 

In humans, studies have shown a clear link between periodontal disease and heart disease and this appears to hold true for our pets as well.

The link between heart disease and periodontal disease in dogs is thought to be caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, causing heart function to suffer and other organs to malfunction. These health concerns are in addition to the more visible issue of pain caused by eroded gums and missing or damaged teeth.

A good home oral health care routine, combined with dental treats and professional dental cleanings, can go a long way toward controlling plaque and tartar buildup and preventing tooth decay.

Neglecting annual professional cleaning could put your pup at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay and tooth loss.

Are there risks involved with professional dental care for dogs?

There are risks involved whenever your pet is put under anesthesia. That is why our veterinarians assess all pets to ensure that they are healthy enough to handle anesthesia and perform additional diagnostics as needed to ensure that a dental exam while anesthetized is safe for your four-legged friend.

What will happen during my dog's dental cleaning appointment?

To help prevent your pooch from developing tooth decay and periodontal disease, our Harrisburg vets at Colonial Park Animal Clinic recommend bringing your dog in for a dental appointment at least once each year, or more frequently if your canine companion is suffering from more severe or recurring dental problems.

When you bring your dog to Colonial Park Animal Clinic for a dental checkup our vets will perform a full oral examination for your pooch and check for signs of dental issues, such as:

  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Bleeding around the mouth
  • Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
  • Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose or
  • Broken teeth
  • Bad breath

If you notice signs of periodontal disease in your pet, such as decreased appetite (which can be an indication of tooth pain), abnormal chewing, drooling, dropping food from the mouth, bad breath, or other symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away to schedule a dental appointment. If left untreated, oral health problems can become severe and cause your pet a great deal of pain and discomfort.

Once your pet is safely sedated, we will perform a full tooth-by-tooth examination, complete with charting, (just like your dentist does during your examinations).

While we have your dog safely and comfortably under anesthesia, we will thoroughly clean and polish your pup's teeth, both above and below the gum line. We probe and x-ray the teeth, then to help protect against future decay and damage we use a fluoride treatment before applying a dental sealant to prevent plaque buildup.

If your pooch is suffering from advanced periodontal disease, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help restore your dog's mouth to a pain-free and healthy state.

How long does it take for a dog to recover from teeth cleaning?

Despite the fact that every dog is unique, you can anticipate your dog to start recovering from the anesthetic in a few hours, even though in some cases it may take 24-48 hours for them to do so completely. Your dog might appear sleepy and have a smaller appetite during this time.

How much does dog teeth cleaning cost?

The price of dog dental cleaning varies greatly depending on a number of variables, including your dog's size, the state of his or her teeth, your location, and the particular veterinarian you choose. Get a precise price for cleaning your dog's teeth by getting in touch with your veterinarian.

Having said that, routine veterinary dental care could prevent more invasive and pricey procedures as well as surgeries. Regular care will enable your veterinarian to prevent advanced tooth decay and gum disease, which can cause discomfort, tooth loss, and jaw deterioration.

Should I brush my dog's teeth?

Pet owners often ask us how to clean their dog's mouth. Here are a few easy ways that you can help to keep your dog's mouth healthy:

  • Use a finger brush from your vet, or a child’s toothbrush to brush your pet’s teeth daily to remove any plaque or debris. It's a simple as brushing your own teeth. If your dog resists having their teeth cleaned try some doggie toothpaste in flavors your pooch will find irresistible. These special toothpastes can turn a chore into a treat.
  • Use a plaque prevention product (your vet can recommend some), which you can apply to your pet’s teeth and gums. These products act as a barrier to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Offer your pup treats such as dental chews or food designed to help prevent plaque buildup and tartar.

Dental care is an important part of your pet's overall health. Be sure to book your pet's annual dental appointment today, your dog will thank you. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is it time for your dog's dental cleaning and examination? Contact our Harrisburg vets to book a dental appointment for your pooch.

New Patients Welcome

Colonial Park Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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(717) 540-7140