dog dental hygiene tips from pacific heights veterinary hospital in renton washington

Pet Dental Hygiene & Oral Care

What is the Cause of My Pet’s Bad Breath?

Don’t ignore your pet’s bad breath! Dental hygiene is often the cause of stinky breath, and it may indicate other important problems with your pet’s health. We understand how easy it is to miss. Many of the problems that stem from poor hygiene occur where you can’t see them – below your pet’s gum line.

How to Get Rid of My Pet’s Bad Breath

The first line of defense is always home care. But while some animals (especially dogs) tolerate their owners handling their mouths and brushing their teeth, most (especially cats) will struggle or act out. That can always make oral care difficult at best, and ineffective at worst.

The best way to ensure your pet’s oral health is to have regular cleanings at our office. Discuss how often you ought to come in as well as a home hygiene regimen with your vet. This will also prevent dental issues from progressing to larger (and potentially deadly) internal issues, such as dysfunction or disease in the heart, kidneys, liver, or lungs.

In the wild, hiding pain, illness, or other weaknesses are survival instincts. Many times, your pet will have the same instincts, even in the safety and comfort of your loving home, so always keep an eye on your pet’s eating habits and behaviors. Recognizing the difference between normal changes in mood and red flags can be difficult sometimes.

What you interpret as a persistent grumpiness may actually be a sign that your pet is in pain.

Symptoms of Dental Disease in Pets

New irritability, shying away from being touched (especially on the face and around the mouth or throat), sluggishness, loss of appetite or difficulty eating, and lethargy are all behavioral signs which may indicate illness.

However, if you note any of the following physical changes, contact your vet immediately:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums, especially when eating or when having teeth brushed
  • Swelling around the mouth
  • Oral abscesses
  • Abnormal chewing
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Crusted build up at the edge of the gums
  • Persistent bad or fetid breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weight loss

Remember, preventing oral infections and disease will help your pet live a longer, healthier life. Furthermore, caring for your pet with regular cleanings now will save you money later.

Anesthesia for Procedures

We always recommend and utilize the use of anesthesia for all dental procedures.
There are always risks when using an anesthetic, however, these risks are outweighed by the fact that this makes all procedures safer for your pet, safer for the vet, and ensures efficacy.  Additionally, we make every effort to minimize this risk and tailor the treatment to your pet’s specific needs.  Attempting procedures without anesthesia can present other dangers to the animal or vet. Especially when work needs to be done under the gum line, any movement could mean harm to your pet from our dental equipment.

After all, your pet cannot have a reasoned discussion with our staff the way you can with your dentist. Procedures are likely to make them afraid and they will probably try to get away. Animals who are in pain will often act defensively and are more likely to bite. Even when they’re healthy, most animals cannot hold still long enough for procedures like dental X-rays to be completed correctly.

Advances in the latest anesthetics mean that for most normal procedures, your pet can go home on the very same day. They may be groggy, but their behavior should return to normal the next day.

Procedures We Offer

The procedures we use to treat your pet’s mouth are very close to the procedures a dentist uses for you.

Your pet’s health is as important to us as it is to you which is why we provide a full offering of dental procedures including:

Hygiene:

  • Scaling (removal of plaque and tartar above the gum line)
  • Polishing
  • Cleaning plaque and tartar below the gum line
  • Examining below the gum line for signs of disease (X-ray)

Oral Procedures:

  • Periodontal disease treatments
  • Infection treatment

Surgical Procedures:

  • Extraction of teeth or dental pulp
  • Oral cancer or cysts treatment
  • Tooth abscess treatment

Ready to get rid of your pet’s stinky breath? Come see our vets at Pacific Heights Veterinary Hospital for a dental cleaning. Request an appointment online or call us at 425-336-7567.