Dental Disease in Dogs

How and why you need to prevent dental disease in dogs of all ages.

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Dental disease (periodontal infection) is the most common infectious disease in dogs. It’s estimated that 90 percent of pets 1 to 3 years of age have enough tartar accumulation on their teeth to necessitate a professional dental cleaning in a veterinarian’s office. Fortunately, dental disease is also among the easiest to prevent and treat. Here are some helpful suggestions to help you deal with dental disease in your dog.

1. Dental disease is not simply cosmetic; it’s a true infection in your dog’s body. Problems including diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and liver disease have been linked to oral bacteria in people and dogs with periodontal infections. All dogs must have their teeth cleaned as often as necessary, according to their individual needs.

2. Accumulation of infected tartar on your dog’s teeth will eventually lead to periodontal pain, tooth loss and systemic infection. Many older dogs that seem to be “acting old,” will be restored to youthful health once their teeth are clean and the infection is removed from their body. One of the most important tasks you can perform to restore health to an older dog is to clean its teeth regularly.

3. To properly and thoroughly clean a dog’s teeth, anesthesia must be used. Simply scraping the tartar off the teeth (“anesthesia-free dental cleaning”) will not cure dental disease and may actually cause more harm to the teeth, gums and supporting structures of the jaw. As long as the proper anesthetic is used, and as long as pets are carefully monitored by an assistant and an anesthetic monitoring machine (which measures heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation), most dogs, including older dogs, usually do well under anesthesia for dental cleaning.

4. Natural therapies, such as coenzyme Q10 and arnica, are helpful for treating pets with dental disease.

5. For ongoing dental care, do as much as possible at home. Regular home dental care (brushing the dog’s teeth) will reduce the number of professional dental cleanings that need to be performed by the veterinarian.


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Kilea   OOB, ME

1/6/2012 7:02:30 AM

I have to say that saying anesthesia is safe is not entirely true. There is always a chance that the dog wont come to. Saying that, it would probably be best to say it is as safe as it can be because the dogs are closely monitored and tests are run prior to the anesthesia.


Also, my dog has severe dental disease. My vet wants 1,600 dollars (minimum estimate) to pull her teeth. I dont have that kind of money and also, paying a company that plus interest is also something that is not doable. Had we gotten her teeth cleaned more regularly as a younger dog, we wouldnt have this problem but that wasnt my say when she was younger as my parents took that on for me (she is 17 and I got her when I was 3). If I could, despite the risk that anesthesia poses, I would have gotten her teeth cleaned more regularly.

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Sue   Three Oaks, MI

2/1/2011 6:47:38 AM

I feed my dog dental chews & dental treats

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Jerome   Pietermaritzburg, AL

9/26/2010 5:14:41 AM

does it help with dental disease when you give your dog animal hoofs or cow hide?

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Jerome   Pietermaritzburg, AL

9/26/2010 5:13:40 AM

does it help with dental disease when you give your dog animal hoofs or cow hide?

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