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News Flash: Dogs and Cats Need Their Teeth Cleaned Too

February 7, 2017 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Pet Dental Health

There's a reason the saying "I'd rather have a root canal" carries a heavy emphasis. It's because everyone hates visiting the dentist—it probably means a sore jaw, a bit of pain, and a new toothbrush on the way out the door.

And yet we all go to the dentist. Why? Because it's a heck of a lot better than living with the pain that cavities and other dental issues cause.

Is your dog or cat receiving the same kind of care?

Many pet owners don't realize that Fido or Fuzzy could be living in pain every single day. Pain that makes eating a chore and effects their quality of life—and that a simple annual cleaning and dental check-up could prevent and solve it.

Your Pet Needs Annual Dental Care

Your dog or cat's teeth can harbor painful disease yet could look perfectly healthy and show no signs of decay. Too many pets experience the pain of dental disease unbeknownst to their owners. For most pet owners, this is a sad realization—no one wants their faithful companion experiencing pain every day.

80% of Pets Have Undiagnosed Dental Disease

Yes, you read that right. Eight out of 10 dogs and cats live with undiagnosed dental disease, including (probably) your loving friend.

Besides the pain involved, dental disease comes with other risks. If left untreated, dental disease can cause:

  • Low appetite
  • Liver and heart issues
  • Kidney problems

So what can you do to prevent this from happening? Your first line of defense is a yearly trip to your local vet. Just like when you go the dentist to prevent future issues, you need to bring your dog or cat in for dental examination and cleaning.

The Anatomy of a Dental Exam

What happens when you bring your dog or cat in for a dental check-up? It's a simple exam that includes:

  • A dental cleaning
  • X-rays to diagnose any underlying problems
  • Remediation of any diseased areas

Anesthesia: Here at Intermountain Pet Hospital, we use anesthesia to make dental exams safer for your pet and our doctors. Having their pets under anesthesia may make some owners uneasy. However, many studies--and our own experiences--have shown that this practice is highly effective and safe.

Your pet's dental heath is so important

Think back to your dentist visits as a child. You might have cried because you were too young to understand. You couldn't see that the temporary pain of a dentist visit would save you much worse hurt down the road. Your dog or cat is in the same position. Anesthesia is the best way to keep your dog or cat from reacting out of fear and thereby injuring either themselves or the veterinarians caring for them.

X-rays: It's imperative to do a full x-ray of your pet's mouth every time you bring them in for an exam. Some vet offices choose to only x-ray "problem" teeth or skip them altogether, which can allow dental disease to lurk undetected for much longer. An x-ray will help us evaluate your pet's dental health to the fullest, giving us the knowledge we need to diagnose and treat.

As always, we're happy to answer any of your questions. Contact us today to schedule your dog or cat's dental exam.

Topics: Pet Dental Health

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.