How does dental health impact the overall health of my dog?

When looking at overall health with your pets, we're always thinking about the bacteria being introduced from really bad tartar. We're thinking about their overall comfort when eating, even when they're wrestling with you and playing with toys. The last thing we think about is the smell and ensuring they're a good hygienic part of your household.

Meagan Darby
Hebron Animal Hospital

How can I care for my dog's teeth at home?

One of the best things you can do, the most recommended way, is brush your dog's teeth. We recommend doing that at least once a week, but we're also realistic. If you can't brush your dog's teeth, there are some other products that can help. Some of the things we like to use are dental chews, dental treats, and some of the bones they can chew on to get abrasion over the tartar off of their mouth. Water additives have fluoride in them to help prevent more tartar from accumulating. Last but not least, we have sprays that you can put directly in their mouth to break down tartar.

What are some signs and symptoms of dental disease in dogs?

One of the most common signs of dental disease in dogs is bad breath. Another thing you might notice is that they only chew their food on one side of their mouth. So if they only chew on one side, the other side hurts. Another thing you'll see is sometimes, these guys tend not to want to play with toys that they normally would, and you might notice swelling around their mouth if they have really bad dental disease.

What are some of the common dental diseases in dogs?

The most common dental disease in dogs is periodontal ligament disease. Essentially, that's from the tartar that accumulates and creates a gap between the tooth and the gum. They can start to get loose teeth and get pain from that sensation. The next common thing is gum recession or gingival recession. That usually has to do with either genetics or excessive chewing.

Why is early detection and diagnosis of dental disease so important?

The earlier we can detect dental disease, the more we can interact with the tooth in the gum and get them to bond back together. So we can do some other things during dental cleanings to ensure that they can keep their teeth as long as possible.

What is a professional dental cleaning like for a dog?

For professional dental cleanings, they do have to go under anesthesia in order for us to get all of the teeth cleaned and to clean underneath the gum line as well. During that time, we can also take dental x-rays just like you do at your dentist and see if any other disease is going on. They do have to be fully intubated, which is the tube in the mouth, and that helps protect them from getting anything down in their lungs during the procedure.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 349-1020, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media,