Dental Care For Dogs & Cats
While routine dental care is an essential component of cats' and dogs' oral and overall health, most pets don't receive the oral hygiene care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year for early signs of problems and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.
At our Castlegar veterinary hospital, we offer a range of dental care services for cats and dogs, from basics like dental exams, teeth cleanings and polishing, to dental x-rays and surgeries.
Dental health education for pet owners, including at-home dental care, is also a high priority. This includes learning how to brush your dog's or cat's teeth at home and high to recognize signs of a dental problem or emergency.
Teeth Cleaning & Examinations
Annual dental checkups are an important part of caring for your pet's overall health. Detecting oral health issues early can help to prevent your pet from experiencing pain or discomfort due to tooth decay, broken teeth or periodontal disease.
A pet dental appointment typically involves the following:
- Pre-Anaesthetic Assessment
A pre-anaesthetic physical assessment will be completed for your pet before the dental exam.
We will take blood and urine analyses to ensure it's safe for your pet to undergo anaesthesia. Additional diagnostics, such as chest radiographs or an ECG, may also be conducted.
- Administering Anaesthesia
We administer anaesthesia to all patients undergoing dental procedures. This allows us to do a thorough examination and cleaning and capture any required X-rays safely and efficiently without undue stress on the pet.
- Oral Examination & Cleaning
Once your pet is under anaesthesia, we will conduct a complete, tooth-by-tooth, oral examination and charting. Their teeth will be cleaned and polished (including under the gum line) and X-rays may be taken. We then apply a fluoride treatment to each tooth, as well as dental sealant to prevent plaque from attaching to the enamel.
If any oral health concerns are discovered, the veterinarian will develop a custom treatment plan, which may include dental surgery, and discuss it with you.
- Follow-up Exam & Home Care
Your veterinarian may recommend a follow-up examination be scheduled two weeks after the initial appointment.
During this visit, we will discuss any concerns and provide advice on at-home care for your pet's teeth.
Dental Surgery for Dogs & Cats
Our Castlegar veterinarians perform dental surgery for cats and dogs when required, including jaw fracture repair surgeries, tooth extractions, and treatment for periodontal disease.
Our team understands that it can be overwhelming to learn that your pet requires dental surgery. We will do all we can to make this process as stress-free as possible, for you and for your dog or cat.
Your pet will be provided with anaesthesia before their dental surgery to ensure they are comfortable and do not experience any pain.
We'll be sure to break down each step of the process to you in detail before the procedure, including preparation and post-operative care requirements.
Signs of Dental Health Issues in Pets
If you notice any of the following symptoms in your pet, it's time for a dental checkup.
- Tartar buildup
- Loose and/or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Bad breath
- Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Abnormal chewing
- Dropping food from the mouth
- Discoloured teeth
FAQs About Pet Dental Care
To learn more about pet dental care, read through our answers to these frequently asked questions from our clients.
- Why do pets need their teeth cleaned?
Like us, dogs and cats can develop periodontal disease or tooth decay as a consequence of poor oral health. When animals eat, plaque sticks to their teeth and can build up into tartar if not cleaned away regularly.
Annual veterinary dental care can help to prevent conditions such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, and even loose or missing teeth.
- How often do my pets need their teeth cleaned?
We recommend that most dogs and cats see a vet for a dental checkup once a year. Pets more prone to dental problems than others may require more frequent appointments.
- How can I tell if my pet has oral hygiene issues?
Pets experiencing dental problems may show one or more of the following signs: excessive drooling (may contain pus or blood), pawing at their mouth or teeth, repeated yawning, teeth grinding, reduced grooming, or dropping food from their mouth while eating.
Other signs of oral health problems include bad breath, swollen gums, and tooth discoloration. Some pets may even stop eating.
- What long-term problems can poor oral health potentially cause in my pet?
As well as causing problems like cavities, bad breath and periodontal disease, oral health issues may lead to disease in the liver, kidney, heart, and other areas throughout your pet's body.
- What should I do at home to keep my pet’s teeth clean between dental appointments?
Brushing your pet's teeth regularly and providing dental chew toys can help to control the buildup of plaque. Speak to your vet to learn more about caring for your dog or cat's teeth between veterinary appointments.
- Why does my pet require anaesthesia for their dental appointment?
Cats and dogs are unable to understand what is going on during dental procedures, and will often react by struggling or biting.
Using anaesthesia puts less stress on pets and allows us to examine their mouth safely.
- What dental issues may require dental surgery as treatment?
Dental health issues which may require dental surgery include cracked or broken teeth, tooth decay, severe gum disease (periodontitis), jaw fractures, TMJ (temporomandibular joint); luxation or dysplasia Feline stomatitis.