Dental Care for Pets

Cat with toothbrush and toothpaste

What to do at the Vet

It’s essential, not just recommended, you take your dogs and cats in for regular periodontal checkups and cleaning. How often this needs to happen depends on a few different factors, such as:

  • Genetics/breed
  • Age
  • How quickly plaque builds
  • How well you take care of your pet’s teeth at home
  • Diet
  • Play habits
  • Favorite toys

The veterinarian will help you work out a unique plan for your pet’s dental needs, so you’ll have a clearer idea of how often you can expect to go in for a visit. However, if you notice yellow or brown plaque building up around the gum line, that’s absolutely a sign that a cleaning is in order. Likewise, if an accident has occurred that resulted in chipped or broken teeth – such as a fall or gnawing a little too eagerly on a bone – you’ll need to schedule an appointment.

Dentist appointments for your pets proceed similarly to those for humans, with one major exception. Cats and dogs may be anesthetized to ensure they don’t feel anxious or scared while their teeth are being cleaned. This is a safe, routine step in the process, and their vitals are monitored at all times.

From there, the procedures your pet will undertake should look familiar to you:

  • Cleaning
  • Polishing
  • Irrigation
  • X-rays
  • Cavity checks
  • Tissue evaluation
  • Jaw evaluation

Remember, like you, proper oral care for your pet begins at home. You can’t rely completely on your veterinarian to take care of everything. Your cat and/or dog depends on you spending a little bit of time every day to ensure they remain happy and healthy.

What to Do at Home

If you can, brush your pet’s teeth at least once a day using a special kit just for their breed and/or size. Alternately, a toothbrush with soft bristles and enzymatic toothpaste from your veterinarian will also suffice.

However, your schedule may not always make it amenable to brush your pet’s teeth this often. That isn’t the only measure you can take to care for his or her periodontal health, although it remains the number one guard against gingivitis and other major oral issues. Plaque-fighting foods are a viable option. Ask your vet about which brands are recommended, particularly if you have an indoor pet where weight and hairball control (when applicable) are major concerns.

In addition, practice caution when purchasing toys for your pet. Chewing and gnawing help keep teeth, gums and the jaw strong, but if they’re too hard, they might lead to chipping or breaking. Hooves are problematic. Choose softer options like rubber or nylon that provide some healthy resistance without putting your pet’s mouth at risk.

And, as fun as it is, tug-of-war with your dog isn’t always in the best interest of his or her oral health. Even toys made of “friendly” materials can still cause loosened, chipped or broken teeth when pulled on too hard. Try fetch or other games instead.

Finally, once a month, invest some time in studying your pet’s teeth for plaque and other signifiers of periodontal disease. It may be uncomfortable for the both of you, but it’s a small price to pay to ensure your cat or dog lives a full, healthy life.

Signs of Dental Issues

Over 80 percent of dogs suffer from diseases of the mouth, so owners must be cognizant of what to look for during their monthly checkups. With care and precision, keep a keen eye out for the following:

  • Especially bad breath
  • Bleeding
  • Loose, chipped or broken teeth
  • Cysts
  • Inflammation
  • Tumors
  • More drooling than normal
  • Gum recession

(Please note the same identifiers of periodontal disease are applicable to cats as well.)

At the first sign of these issues, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Don’t let them worsen over time, as they can lead to compromises in organ function and stability.

Providing X-Rays to Veterinarians

Are you a veterinarian who provides dental services to pet owners? All Star X-ray provides top-of-the-line veterinary x-ray equipment and installation and maintenance services to make sure your clients and their beloved cats and dogs receive optimal care for their continued health and wellness. For a free consultation, contact us today.

A Medical Mission in Malawi

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All Star X-ray is proud of Denisha Shipman, who served as a healthcare volunteer on a medical mission trip this past October.

She served in a remote village in Malawi as a representative of MedReach, Inc. The basic healthcare needs we take for granted here in the United States are rarities in this and other nearby communities. In fact, the closest hospital is 60 miles away. And for a village in a nation where 80% of the citizenry lives below the poverty line and earning less than $1.25 a day, access is near impossible.

Denisha and her fellow medical mission staffers attended to 2,353 patients over five days. This included providing 701 pairs of sunglasses and administering a staggering 9,000 prescriptions. Pharmacist Sam Eckel put together this wonderful video to honor the work of MedReach’s hardworking healthcare volunteers. You may also view our setup and photos from the mission at our Facebook gallery. All Star X-ray looks forward to providing more healthcare opportunities for underserved regions in the coming year.

Providers of Top-of-the-Line Radiography Equipment

All Star X-ray provides everything you need to update your practice to meet the latest in radiography equipment standards. We not only sell you the finest models, but provide a full range of services to ensure they’re properly installed, inspected and repaired along the way. To learn more, please contact us for a free consultation.

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