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Remember the "3-D's" of pet dentistry to prevent the build-up of plague and tartar.
Periodontal disease is a common and serious problem in dogs and cats with 85% of dogs and 75% of cats suffering from it. An early warning is tartar on the teeth. Built-up tartar supports the growth of bacteria that in turn causes inflammation of the gums. Bacteria can enter the blood stream and cause or exacerbate respiratory, liver, kidney or cardiac problems. Once tartar accumulates and hardens; only a veterinary dental cleaning can eliminate it.
It is essential to keep your pets mouth and teeth clean between visits to the vet. Brushing your animal's teeth is the best way. There are a variety of methods available, toothbrushes with a smaller angled head, a device with little bristles that slips over your finger or simply a soft bristled toddler toothbrush. Use an enzyme based product for the paste, such as Enzadent. Condition your pet to dental care slowly; use patience and lots of positive re-enforcement, make the process a game and reward with lots of praise and play time.
To start, place a small amount of veterinary toothpaste on your finger and let your pet sniff and lick it. If your pet seems to like the taste of the toothpaste, use it, if (s) he isn't interested in the flavor, brush the teeth without it. Don't use human toothpaste; the fluoride it contains should not be swallowed.
Concentrate on the outer surfaces of the teeth. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth surface, with bristles pointing toward the gum line. This allows the cleaning of the gum line while the teeth are being brushed. Work the toothbrush in a circular motion. Try for 15 seconds on each side of the mouth. Go slowly and be patient. If things aren't going well, wait a few hours before trying again. Appropriate chew toys can help strengthen teeth and prevent fractures.
So, when is it time for a visit to the doggie dentist?
Sustained bad breath
Bleeding or inflamed gums
Tartar (hard brown material on teeth)
Loose, missing or broken teeth
There are many pet foods available that help prevent tartar build-up. Your veterinarian can help you choose one. People food is often the cause of plaque, bad breath and even flatulence. Avoid giving your pet table scraps. As previously mentioned, certain chew toys help with mouth health. There are toys that have material that actually gets between the teeth and "flosses."
What comes with a dental at Ponti's?
1. Ultrasonic scaling, polishing and fluoride treatment.
2. IV fluids to help filter organs during anesthesia, maintain blood pressure and normal
3. Antibiotics in the case of extractions and/or severe periodontal disease.
4. Pain medications if there were extractions.
5. A chart of your pet's mouth with explanation of what exactly was done.
6. A dental kit to go home.