You might have heard of the myth that dogs don’t need dental care because they keep their teeth clean naturally by chewing. This is not entirely true.
Dental health is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. Sadly, many dog parents don’t realize this.
This might leave you asking, should I get my dog’s teeth cleaned professionally?
What happens if you skip the regular dental cleaning? How often should you get your dog’s teeth cleaned?
We discuss why you need to get your dog’s teeth cleaned and what happens during a dog dental cleaning procedure!
Why You Need to Get Your Dog’s Teeth Cleaned
Like humans, dogs also need proper dental care. Good hygiene will help to avoid dental diseases from developing.
Here are some reasons why you need to get your dog’s teeth cleaned regularly.
Avoid Periodontal Disease
80% of dogs have some degree of periodontal disease by the age of two. This disease is inflammation that can affect the structures supporting your dog’s teeth, including the gums, nerves, roots, and even the bone around the roots.
It also involves the periodontal ligaments that anchor the roots to jawbones.
This inflammation is caused by bacteria, along with food, saliva, and other particles that form plaque over the teeth.
When this happens, the white blood cells try to attack the bacteria, leading to inflamed gums, destroyed tissue, and the loss of teeth.
Many small-breed dogs have a predisposition to periodontal disease. Yorkies, Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Schnauzers, Chihuahuas, and others have a tendency to develop periodontal disease at a young age.
Periodontitis in dogs is hard to diagnose since the first symptoms are difficult to detect. That is why vets always recommend teeth cleaning to avoid this.
It’s rare that pet owners ever notice signs of gum disease in their dog, and if they do, the gum disease can be very advanced. By then, your dog may already be living with chronic pain.
Here are some signs of periodontal disease in dogs to keep an eye out for:
- swollen gums
- difficulty chewing
- excessive drooling
- bumps in the mouth
- loose and yellow teeth
- weight loss
- nasal discharge.
When the periodontal disease is severe, the periodontal pockets around the can teeth be deeper than 5 millimeters.
This means there is now some bone loss, requiring extraction as the only treatment option.
Periodontal Disease Can Affect the Heart
Bacteria in your dog’s mouth can not only cause inflammation to the gums and destruction of the teeth, but it also leads to complications of the internal organs.
Dogs with unchecked periodontal disease are more prone to heart, kidney, and liver diseases. This happens when bacteria enters the inflamed gums and moves into the bloodstream.
Another complication that is common in dogs with periodontal disease is jaw fractures. An untreated disease of the gums destroys the bone to such an extent that even a little pressure will fracture a small dog’s weakened jaw.
What Happens During Dog Dental Cleaning?
Periodontal disease and the other diseases that can result from it are just some of the reasons why you want to give your dog regular dental cleaning.
So, what exactly happens when you take your dog for dental check up and cleaning?
This can take about 45 minutes to an hour. First, the vet will perform a physical examination and determine if it is safe for them to receive anesthesia. Then, they will be sedated and administered oxygen.
Some vets place an IV catheter and administer fluids to support your furry friend’s blood pressure and organ health.
At the start of the cleaning, the vet will use dental probes to measure the depth of the pockets found between the tooth and gum. These are small tools that fit between the gum and tooth.
This is the most important step since abnormally deep pockets indicate periodontal disease.
The vet removes the plaque and tartar and rinses the mouth. The surfaces of the teeth are also polished since not doing so can attract more plaque and tartar in the small grooves.
Lastly, a fluoride treatment is applied after the second rinse.
Sometimes, additional procedures will be needed, like tooth extraction which can take up to 30 minutes, depending on the work required.
Check out this video to see how professional dog dental cleaning is done.
After the cleaning procedure, your dog will only be allowed to eat a regular diet 12 to 48 hours after the cleaning.
However, if your dog needed extractions or major surgery, it might take three to five days for them to fully recover and get back to their regular diet.
How Often You Should Get Your Dog’s Teeth Cleaned
Adult dogs should go through dental cleaning procedures at least once a year.
On the other hand, small and brachycephalic breeds may require more frequent cleanings once every six months due to shallow roots and the dental problems that come with them, such as overcrowding and dental deformities.
Remember, just because you are taking good care of your dog’s teeth at home with good toothpaste and toothbrush doesn’t mean you don’t have to take your four-legged friend to the doggy dentist.
Should You Get Your Dog’s Teeth Cleaned?
Absolutely. Just as you keep on top of your own dental health, you need to stay informed about your dog’s dental health as well.
You need to have your dog’s teeth checked and cleaned regularly to avoid periodontal disease. This common disease may lead to jaw fracture, and disease in the heart, kidney, and liver.
Aside from taking good care of your dog’s teeth at home with a regular cleaning regime, make sure to take your dog to the vet for a dental cleaning at least once a year.
They will provide an intensive cleaning and probably tooth extraction, depending on what your furry friend needs.