February is dental health month, which means it’s time for your pet to open wide for a dental examination! Just like in people, if plaque and tartar build up and are left untreated it can progress to painful periodontal disease.
Dupont Veterinary Clinic offers a discount for dental exams during the month of February to honor dental health month. Be sure to schedule your pet a dental exam soon because spaces do fill up quickly!
Signs of oral and dental disease in pets
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
- Your pet avoiding having his or her mouth touched
- Drooling or dropping food from the mouth
- Loss of appetite or loss of weight
- This combination can be due to many different diseases and it is important to have an examination by a veterinarian right away.
Here are five tips on how to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy:
- Bad Breath
If you cannot stand your pet’s breath, do not ignore it! Bad breath in pets is a warning sign for periodontal disease. The tartar and bacteria that build up cause this foul odor and it is important to remove the bacteria sooner rather than later. The bacteria eat away at the gum line and work their way into the blood stream, showering your pet’s body with a lot of bacteria! Here is a before and after image of a pet with significant tartar and periodontal disease (notice the red and inflamed gum line at the base of the teeth on the before image).
- Brush Your Pet’s Teeth
It may be difficult at first to start this routine, but with enough patience and tasty treats, you can gradually train your pet to accept the tooth brush and pet toothpaste. Start by letting your pet smell the toothbrush and the toothpaste, then gradually work your way to brushing for 30 seconds on each side of the mouth at least every other day.
Caution: Human toothpaste is not safe for pets! Be sure to use a pet approved product.
- Consider Dental Toys, Treats, and Food
There are treats, toys, and food specifically designed to promote oral health; however, they are not as effective as brushing your pet’s teeth. Be sure to look for the Seal of Acceptance from the Veterinary Oral Health Council to make sure that the product meets the standards for effective plaque and tartar control.
Stop in to see your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to ask them about the prescription diet specifically designed to promote oral health.
- Dental Exam
Pets need to have their teeth and gums checked regularly by a veterinarian, just like humans do. A cursory exam can be performed by your vet without sedation, but for a complete dental evaluation your pet will have to be placed under anesthesia. During the dental exam the veterinarian will check the head and neck for any abnormalities, look for any broken or cracked teeth, stage your pet’s dental disease (the severity of tartar, gum disease, redness and inflammation), and look for any other abnormalities in the oral cavity, such as cancerous lumps or bumps.
- Don’t let Anesthesia Stop you From Getting a Dental Cleaning
In order to perform a thorough examination of your pet’s teeth and gums, remove the plaque and tartar, and really clean your pet’s pearly whites, anesthesia is required. Placing your pet under anesthesia sounds scary, but in fact, the procedure has never been safer or more comfortable for your pet. Before the anesthesia even begins, we perform pre-screening blood tests to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for the procedure. There are numerous benefits of dental cleaning that outweigh the risks of anesthesia.
We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic will keep you informed throughout the procedure. There will be a meeting at the time of drop off with a veterinary technician; after the bloodwork is performed, if any health conditions are encountered, you will be contacted prior to anesthesia. After your pet’s teeth are examined and cleaned you will again be contacted when your dog or cat has recovered from anesthesia.
We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic aim to provide the best possible care for your pet, which includes regular dental examination and cleaning. Contact your veterinarian with any questions regarding dental cleaning and to schedule your pet’s dental exam today!
By Ashley Dawes, DVM
We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic want to make sure that owners are well educated so that they and their pets can live long, happy, and healthy lives together. Here is a list of the most common veterinary myths associated with pet health care.
- A cold, wet, dry, or warm nose indicates something about the pet’s health.
While there may be a few circumstances where a pet’s nose may be able to offer us useful information, most of the time they do not. Veterinarians do not rely on this information at all when taking your pet’s history or performing a physical exam.
- A pet that eats grass outside is sick to his stomach.
While some dogs that have an upset stomach may feel an urge to eat or chew on unusual objects, a dog that eats grass is not always ill. Some dogs simply like to play with grass and chew on it for fun!
- Eating ice cubes or snow kills dogs.
Dogs do not bloat from eating ice cubes, snow, or drinking ice water. In fact, giving them ice water or ice cubes can help cool them down on a hot day. Bloat is most commonly seen in deep-chested, large breed dogs and can be caused by genetics and/or food and gas build up in the stomach. Freezing toys or treats for dogs, especially puppies, to chew on can help to keep them occupied while you are away.
- A dog that scoots his hind end on the ground has worms.
Scooting is usually caused by an impacted or infected anal gland or localized skin infection. Pets can, on occasion, scoot on the ground if they have tapeworms because the segments that they shed on their hind end can be itchy or irritating.
- If my dog is inside a fenced-in yard, or mostly indoors, they cannot be exposed to mosquitoes and contract heartworm disease.
Mosquitoes can get inside fenced-in yards and can even get inside your house; therefore, even mostly indoor dogs need to be on heartworm prevention too. The same goes for fleas and flea prevention as they can hitch a ride on your clothes or shoes and be introduced into your house.
- Grain free or gluten free diets will fix my pet’s allergies.
While there are some dogs that may be diagnosed with a grain allergy, gluten allergies in dogs are exceedingly rare. Dogs can have food allergies or environmental allergies that cause them to have red, irritated, and itchy skin. If you think your pet is experiencing an allergy contact your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to have them examined.
- My dog eats his own feces so he must have a nutritional deficiency.
This statement is simply not true as some dogs find this smelly snack to be a delicacy!
- Dipping your pet in motor oil can cure mange.
There are dips that can be given to bathe pets in to cure mange but motor oil is not one of them. In fact, motor oil can be really harsh on a pet’s skin and coat. If you think your pet has mange, please speak with your veterinarian about the best treatment for them.
- Pets need to lick their wounds in order for them to heal.
Licking a wound is great to clean off debris from a fresh injury, but continuous licking worsens inflammation and infection. This is why E-collars are used. It is especially important to keep pets away from a surgical incision as they can reopen the site and cause a serious infection.
- Sibling pets do not need to be spayed or neutered because they will not mate.
Animals do not have any taboos against this and will mate if given the opportunity.
If you have questions about your pet’s health, give us a call at (260) 637-7676. We are here because we want to help keep your pet healthy and foster the bond your family has with your pet.
By: Dr. Ashley Dawes