There is nothing quite like the love your dog shows you. But, at the same time, nothing kills the mood more than a case of bad breath. Even worse, that smell could be the sign of more serious health issues. There is a way to ensure your dog is happy and healthy, and you do not have to miss out on those snuggles – veterinary dentistry.
What is Veterinary Dentistry?
Similar to human dentists, veterinary dentists are qualified to clean, adjust, fill, extract and repair teeth. The only difference is that they are specially trained to care for pets. Regular visits help to prevent periodontal diseases and other potential health-related conditions. So, what can you expect to happen during your pet’s visit to the veterinary dentist in Port St. Lucie, FL?
Getting to Know Your Dog
Before the procedure begins, your veterinarian in Port St. Lucie, FL will want to look over your dog’s complete medical history, which is usually followed by a physical exam. Part of this exam may include testing a sample of your dog’s blood or urine, to identify anything that could put your dog at risk during the procedure.
During this part of the visit, your veterinarian will also discuss how they plan to identify and treat any problems they find with your dog’s oral health.
Evaluating & Maintaining Your Dog’s Oral Health
When you visit the dentist for a regularly scheduled dog teeth cleaning and exam in Port St. Lucie, FL, you are likely not anesthetized. That is not the case with dogs. As visits the veterinarian can be very stressful for dogs, anesthesia is used to ensure that their procedure is a more comfortable experience. The anesthesia also helps to keep your pet as still as possible, while the dentist performs a thorough examination, which can include looking below the gumline for any hidden problems.
Because of this, veterinary dentistry visits can last longer than a normal trip to the veterinarian. You may be asked to drop off your dog at the clinic early, so that the medical staff has time to get your dog comfortable and ready for their procedure.
While your pet is under anesthesia, this will give the dentist time to not only complete their exam, but to also remove plaque and tarter from your dog’s teeth, as well as polish them. X-rays may also be done during this time to determine if any unseen parts of your dog’s teeth have sustained any damage or decay. If issues are found, your dentist might remove teeth or perform other recommended procedures.
After Your Dog’s Procedure
Once the veterinarian has completed their exam, and any other procedures performed, you will get a full review of what they found. If there were infections, or teeth had to be removed, your dog’s veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics. And, because these dental procedures can make your dog’s mouth sensitive, your veterinarian may also recommend pain medication, or feeding your dog softer food until they are fully healed.
Many owners in Port St. Lucie, FL do not realize the importance of oral health and hygiene in their pets, but regular screenings are so vital in preventing many other diseases.
When Should I Have My Dog’s Teeth Checked Out in Port St. Lucie, FL?
Left unchecked, dental diseases can lead to a number of problems, including infections in other parts of the body and chronic pain. Pets are good at hiding their pain, so you may not always notice that something is wrong. A regular visit can ensure that these problems are treated properly and in a timely manner. Infections can also become a problem, as the bacteria can go into the root and spread throughout the body, putting organs like the heart and kidneys at risk.
Veterinary professionals in Port St. Lucie, FL recommend that you have your pet’s teeth cleaned and examined at least once each year. But sometimes problems can arise between these visits. It may be a good idea to make appointment to see your veterinarian if any of the following problems arise in your dog:
- Worsening bad breath
- Loose/broken teeth
- Extra teeth crowding mouth
- Discoloring, or covered in plaque and tartar
- Unusual chewing, excessive drooling, or dropping items from mouth
- Change in eating habits, or refusing food
- Bleeding or swelling
You may also notice a behavioral change in your dog if they are experiencing pain, or problems, with their mouth. This often comes off as your dog being irritable. Use caution if you decide to look for any problems yourself, as the pain could cause an unwanted reaction in your pet.
Caring for Your Dog’s Teeth Between Cleanings in Port St. Lucie, FL
In addition to any prescriptions or post-procedure care that your veterinary dentist gives you, there are also things you can do between visit to keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy. They include:
You likely brush your teeth daily, so don’t you think your dog’s teeth should be cleaned regularly, too? While dog teeth cleanings are not required daily, the more often you do the better it can be for them. If you do choose to brush your dog’s teeth, be sure you are using a toothpaste that is safe for pets. You will also need a way to brush the teeth, so decide if a regular dog toothbrush or one that fits on your fingertip is right for your situation. If you need help deciding what to use, your veterinary dentist can give you advice.
Dental Treats for Dogs
These treats work especially well if your dog is food motivated. Even if they are not food motivated, what dog doesn’t appreciate being treated every now and then? These dental treats are intended to get rid of the plaque that builds up on your dog’s teeth. They also typically freshen your dog’s breath and help in cleaning your dog’s mouth. Dental treats for dogs are also a good option if your dog does not like a toothbrush, however, they are not able to reach as many places in your dog’s mouth.
While it may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to your dog’s oral health, dog chews are great tool for helping keep your dog’s mouth clean. Believe it or not, the simple act of chewing is good for your dog. Many of these chews also help to scrape plaque and tarter from the teeth, and some even contain enzymes that are good for your dog’s oral health.
Despite all of these being good ways to care for your dog’s teeth, it is not the same as taking your dog to a veterinary dentist in Port St. Lucie, FL and having their teeth professionally cleaned and examined. Your vet knows exactly what to look for, and can be the key to keeping your dog happy and health.
Contact Your veterinarian at The Veterinary Medical Center of St. Lucie County at (772) 337-8570 to have any questions answered or to make an appointment.