Here are some key points on why the dental health of pet animals is important

Most pet owners have a vague idea about administering dental care to their pets. To help understand this important aspect of an animal’s health and wellness, Virginia’s top vets answer these commonly asked questions.

What Percentage of Dogs Develop Dental Diseases?

  • This may come as a surprise to you but more than 80% of middle-aged dogs have some kind of dental disease, with periodontal disease being the most predominant form of dental disorder. Dental disorders are hard to detect because the signs of a prevailing dental disease are elusive. A regular dental checkup is key to ensuring the good dental health of your dog.

Are Dental Disorders For Animals Similar to Those of Humans?

  • Yes, most oral disorders are of similar nature. However, keep in mind that gum disease occurs more commonly in dogs than it does in humans. Unlike humans, cavities and dental decay are less recurrent in dogs. Approximately 10% of dogs develop dental decay.  Certain environmental and health factors lead to the development of periodontal disorders and fractured teeth.

What is Periodontal Disease in Animals?

This is a broad term that is used for infection and inflammation of gum tissues that surround the tooth. These tissues are called the periodontium. Periodontium is further classified into the following four groups of tissue:

  • Gingiva
  • Cementum (it is present at the root of the tooth)
  • Periodontal ligament (it attaches the root of the tooth to the dental bone)
  • Alveolar bone (the bone that contains the tooth sockets)

Periodontal disease attacks in stages. It first affects the gingiva. At this stage, it is called gingivitis. If the disease is not treated at this stage it spreads to the socket and destroys the bone. The loss of bone results in the gradual loosening and falling out of the tooth.

How Can Plaque and Tartar Be Prevented in Dogs?

  • dental health of pet animalsPlaque is a sticky film of bacteria that develops over the teeth due to the metabolic activity of bacteria. Plaque is acidic in nature and if allowed to sit for too long it starts corroding the tooth’s enamel. Damaging plaque is known as tartar. Like humans, dogs develop plaque and tartar which leads to the development of cavities and dental decay.

To prevent the development of plaque and tartar, do the following:

  • Make it a habit to brush your dog’s teeth daily. Use specially formulated toothpaste that is safe to swallow, because in most cases dogs don’t know how to spit out the toothpaste.
  • These days special chew toys and treats are available that reduce the tartar deposits on teeth through mechanical action. Buy these accessories for your dog.
  • Use water additives that contain special minerals to protect your dog against plaque and tartar buildup.

What Steps Are Performed in A Routine Dental Cleaning for Dogs?

The following steps are performed in a routine dental cleaning for dogs:

  • Before administering anesthesia, the vets perform basic blood tests to determine the body’s tolerance for anesthesia, especially to determine the health of the kidney and liver.
  • A thorough dental examination is carried out.
  • Dental scaling and polishing are performed to remove deposits of tartar and plaque from the teeth.

If extensive periodontal treatment is needed, your dog will have to take antibiotics before starting the treatment to reduce the risk of infection.

Autumn Trails and Veterinary Center provides top-notch dental care services for dogs and other pets. For more information, call us on 434-971-9800. We are located in Charlottesville, VA.