How frequently do you brush your teeth? How often do you go to the dentist? It’s most likely just a part of your regular routine at this point, because your dentist has made sure you know how important your teeth are in regards to your health. When your teeth or gums hurt, you notice, and you are looking to quickly remedy the problem. If you don’t, you’ll experience a lot of pain, move your jaw as little as possible, and will not be able to eat properly. These are the same issues your pup or kitty experience when their dental health is not properly managed, but the consequences can be tenfold. When you think about it, animals use their mouths for everything we do with our hands and much more, making it an essential part to clean and maintain. Because they cannot make appointments themselves, it is completely up to you. It can be daunting to take on, so let Cloud Peak Vet help you carry some of that load. Our team will partner with you to keep your animal’s mouth healthy and functioning, so come by or reach out!
Depending on the pup, brushing their teeth could be leaving you scratched up and your pup miserable. If you are having a difficult time cutting their claws on your own, give a professional a call, and they can give you some advice on what you can do at home for your specific pet. Regular cleaning is essential to oral health because it prevents plaque build-up and consequently dental disease. It can be really beneficial to know what your vet is looking for so that you can be on the lookout for the same things at home. Let’s walk through that process!
Behind the Scenes
As soon as you come in with your dog, cat, horse, cow, or what have you, our first priority is to make them as comfortable as possible. When it comes to pet teeth cleanings, it can be crucial for us to put them under anesthesia so they have a painless visit. As you are more than aware, pets can be rather averse to having their teeth cleaned, so if we have a stranger wearing scrubs working on their teeth, it can really, really stress the animal out. When we put them under, the patient can calm down enough for the vet to thoroughly clean and assess each tooth. A vet needs access to not only the teeth, but the gums as well because the gums can be a huge indicator of health. If the animal has a few issues or pain, it may be necessary to take x-rays so we can see if the root of the tooth is causing the pain, or if it is more complicated than needing a tooth removed. Once you bring your animal in, we are able to do a complete and thorough oral exam so that we get to the root of the problem quickly so we can find a solution.
As mentioned before, anesthesia allows a professional to check the root health, plaque levels, tartar build up, crowding, gum health, and assess each tooth. Some aspects cannot be monitored at home, but the ones you should be on the look for are: plaque levels, gum health, and any pain they exhibit. Plaque is that film of bacteria that forms on their teeth, and you want to monitor it because it can lead to tartar and tooth decay. A little plaque is healthy, but look out for plaque that is yellow, brown, or orange in color, as that is a great indicator of too much build-up. Your animal’s gums should be a pale pink, so if you see their gums red and inflamed, you know there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Your animal might show signs of pain by refusal to eat, excessive saliva, refusal to play, and change of temperament. If you want more information about dental problems animals face, we recommend checking out our blog, “Why Your Pet’s Dental Health Matters to Us,” and you’ll learn more about the medicinal issues we at Cloud Peak are concerned with.
At Home Care
It can be really overwhelming to take on your pet’s oral health as a concern, but the best action you can take is to take preventative measures, afterall, the best kind of treatment is prevention! If you are worried about finding a solution, have no fear because there are a lot of options to fit just about any situation.
The first, most obvious, step for dental care is to take a toothbrush and scrub away. Often, cats and dogs hate getting a bunch of plastic and paste brushed in their mouth, but it does not have to be a fight. We recommend making brushing their teeth a very rewarding, positive experience for the pet, whether it means having treats or a new toy on stand-by. Make sure they know what you’re doing and you’re not coming in hot with a toothbrush and no safety. If your pet does not want you touching their mouth and you are not able to lift their lips and manually check their teeth, we recommend finding a different solution. If you need tips for your specific pet, come and see us; we will show you how to do it at home!
Dental products have made it possible for you to care for your pet’s teeth without the frustration of invading their mouth with a plastic brush. Dental wipes make a great alternative! The main purpose of these wipes is to remove plaque, making it great for upkeep in between professional cleanings. Wipes have to be used more frequently than brushing because the wipes do not clean to the same extent, so regular use is a must! The most important thing is to ensure that your pet’s mouth is healthier today than it was yesterday.
If you do not have the ability to get in there and really scrub, there are some products that will aid in maintaining your pet’s oral health! Dental chews are always a great place to start because some dog treats are designed to really work into the nooks and crannies and break down plaque. And if you want something a little more natural, chicken’s feet are a really good treat that will, again, break down plaque and prevent disease. In addition to these supplemental treats, some pet food is designed with your pet’s teeth in mind. If you are unsure of what would work for your pet, ask your vet! There are quite a few companies out there that advertise that their products are tearing down plaque, eliminating bad breath, and so on, but some products have absolutely nothing in them that will help your pet. The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) dedicates their time and resources into finding the best products for pet teeth cleaning and oral care, so they are also a great resource to find the best option for your situation. Check out their list of acceptable products by visiting this link!
When it comes to having a professional cleaning your pet’s teeth, there is no “correct” answer because each pet and their oral needs are too unique for a one-and-done decision. Smaller animals typically need more oral care because their teeth take up a good portion of its jaw, meaning any problems could spread quickly to the jaw bone. It’s all about what your pup or kitty needs and how we can give them the best life they can live. Talk to your vet about what oral care treatment they think would suit your situation best, and you’ll get clear steps to take today.
We care a great deal about our community because you are part of our Cloud Peak family. If any animals in your care are having oral pain or discomfort, stop by our clinic so we can see and diagnose the problem firsthand. There is also much more that Cloud Peak offers besides dental care, so if you have questions about what other services we offer, check out this page! Give us a call at (307) 347-2781, and we will help you in any way we can! We cannot wait to hear from you!