If you are relatively new to owning a pet, it’s normal to have a large number of questions about their care. Many inexperienced owners do not always realize the importance of pet dental care, and when they discover why it is so crucial to the health and wellbeing of their pet, they too have many questions.
Every responsible and loving owner wants to ensure that their beloved animal is as healthy as happy as possible, and to help you understand more about the dental aspect of your pet’s wellbeing, we have put together the following FAQ about pet dental care.
How do I know if my pet has poor dental health?
As animals cannot verbalize how they are feeling, your pet is relying on you to pick up any behavior or other signals that she may have a dental health problem. Symptoms may appear gradually, which can make them harder to spot. However, occasionally an obvious indicator will arise quite suddenly. Some of the most common warning signs of poor dental health in pets include:
- Visible discoloration on the teeth, particularly near the gum line
- Red and swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Pain when your pet eats (she may seem to wince)
- Dropping food when she eats
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive drooling
- Unwillingness to have her head or face touched
- Visible swelling or abnormal growths
What should I do if I am worried about my pet’s teeth?
Good dental health can extend your pet’s life for as many as five years, so looking after her teeth should be a priority. This also means that if you have any concerns about your pet’s dental health, you should seek the advice of a specialist as soon as possible. Inman Park Animal Hospital can answer your pet dental care questions at 404-341-7400.
Early diagnosis and treatment is essential for your pet to make the best possible recovery from their dental problem. It will also mean that you may be able to prevent your pet from requiring painful, frightening and expensive dental treatments.
How often should my pet visit the dentist?
Most vets offer dental check-ups as part of their standard care package, and will schedule in regular visits for your pet, which are usually every six to twelve months. However, if you believe that your pet is suffering from a dental health problem, you shouldn’t wait for your next scheduled appointment. Instead, arrange to see a specialist at Inman Park Animal Hospital as soon as possible.
Are pet dental x-rays necessary and safe?
Dental x-rays allow us to have a proper look at the health and condition of your pet’s teeth below the gum line, which is essential to comprehensively evaluate their health.
X-rays have improved a great deal over the last few decades and are now safer than ever before. Our team will try and minimize the number of x-rays that your pet needs and will only suggest them when they are truly necessary.
What are professional dental cleanings?
Our team may recommend that your pet has a professional dental cleaning from time to time. Although you may brush your pet’s teeth regularly at home, a professional clean is an opportunity for our vet to clean areas of your animal’s teeth that are otherwise virtually impossible to reach.
Most professional dental cleans are performed after your pet has been put to sleep using a general anesthetic. This makes the process safer for your pet as they will not move, and the Doctors at Inman Park Animal Hospital can use the tools needed to do a thorough cleaning without causing your pet any pain. Although some owners worry about the use of anesthetic, it is generally considered safer to perform a cleaning with an anesthetic than without one.
How can I support my pet’s dental health at home?
The single most important thing that you can do at home to support your pet’s dental health is to brush his or her teeth as often as possible. Daily brushing is ideal, but even cleaning her teeth just two times a week can help to reduce the likelihood of dental problems occurring and will keep her teeth looking and feeling great.
- Choose a small-headed toothbrush with soft bristles. A human one is fine.
- Don’t use human toothpaste – it’s toxic to animals. Ask the Inman Park Animal Hospital team to recommend an approved pet toothpaste instead.
- If you aren’t sure of the best way to brush her teeth, ask our team for a demonstration.
Contact Inman Park Animal Hospital for further advice.