Does Your Pet Need Pet Dental Check Ups?


Veterinarian Fox Chapel | Does Your Pet Need Pet Dental Check Ups?

For many years, says veterinarian Fox Chapel, pet owners believed that as long as they regularly gave their cat or dog a chew stick or a chew toy, that they wouldn’t have to worry about getting their pet’s teeth cleaned. However, while such chewing devices significantly help reduce the tartar build up on your cat or dog’s teeth, it is still important they get pet dental check ups regularly, as part of their annual check up.

The first reason, as Dr. Linkenheimer, the veterinarian Fox Chapel owner explains, is that while these chewing devices help reduce tartar build up, it doesn’t completely eliminate it. Regular check ups can help ensure the tartar build up isn’t causing a problem for your pet’s teeth. But if it is, it can be caught quickly, and treated, much more quickly, and less invasively than if the pet owner waited a year or more to bring their cat or dog in.

Regular Pet Dental Check ups Start Early

By the time your cat or dog is six months old, says veterinarian Fox Chapel, all of their adult teeth should have grown in. This is a perfect time to get your pet in to the veterinarian for a pet dental check up. First, it helps condition the pet that getting their teeth looked at is normal. And the veterinarian will teach the pet owner the best ways to care for their pet’s teeth. And yes, this involves brushing their pet’s teeth. While it might sound difficult, the sooner a toothbrush is introduced to the pet, the better.

Linkenheimer says pet owners can start introducing the toothbrush early on in the pet’s life, and at play time. This will condition the pet to have the brush in their mouth. Once they’re comfortable with that, start with a couple teeth at a time. It’s very important that you praise your pet, to put them at ease. You may want to buy a pet toothbrush, they have a curved handle that makes reaching the pet’s back teeth easier, but a pet toothbrush isn’t strictly necessary.

Veterinarian Fox Chapel | Use Pet Friendly Toothpaste For Your Pet Dental Check Ups

However, using pet toothpaste is a necessity. The reason according to the veterinarian Fox Chapel owner, Dr. Richard Linkenheimer, is because toothpaste for people is toxic to pets. Regular toothpaste contains ingredients like xylitol, a sugar substitute that is toxic to cats and dogs, even in small doses. Your veterinarian will likely recommend a brand that they are familiar with, such as the Virbac Enzymatic toothpaste. This is a favorite to recommend because it comes in five flavours that both cats and dogs love like poultry, beef, seafood, vanilla mint and malt.

Even with regular brushing and the use of chewing toys and chew sticks, veterinarian Fox Chapel still recommends regular pet dental check ups. This can be done at the same time as the pet’s regular annual check up. The veterinarian can see if the brushing is helping to protect against tartar build up and gingivitis, and if a cleaning is going to be necessary in the future. This is especially bad for small dogs, as they have a tendency to develop periodontal disease at a higher frequency than larger dogs, and regular check ups can help ensure their teeth stay in great condition.

A Change In Eating Habits

However, no matter how often a pet owner is bringing their cat or dog in for pet dental check ups and visits, veterinarian Fox Chapel recommends becoming familiar with the signs of dental problems in their pets. They may show a decreased interest in eating dry food and hard treats. They may chew slower, or swallow their food whole, and drop food out of their mouth while chewing. Your pet may start drooling when they haven’t before, or start pawing at their mouth.

By familiarizing yourself with these signs of dental pain in your cat or dog, pet owners can learn when it’s important to bring their cat or dog into veterinarian Fox Chapel for a check up. Visit the River Valley Veterinarian Hospital website to book your appointment for a pet dental check up and regular visit to ensure your pet is in great health.