More Than Fresh Breath: The Importance of Pet Dental Care 

Pet Dentistry

Did you know that persistent bad breath in pets often signals an underlying oral or general health issue? At Rainier West Veterinary Hospital, we emphasize the importance of regular preventive dental care to enhance your pet’s health and quality of life. You can always count on Dr. Doyle and our dedicated team for compassionate, gentle care for your furry companion. 

The Hidden Dangers of Poor Dental Health

Did you know that by age three, about 70% of cats and 80% of dogs show signs of dental disease? Periodontal (gum) disease is the most common dental concern, with devastating impacts on your pet’s oral and overall health. Left untreated, the progressive gum inflammation and infection can lead to bad breath, loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss. The bacteria from the gum infection can also enter the bloodstream, causing serious health conditions, including heart, liver, or kidney disease. 

Our team at Rainier West Veterinary Hospital cannot overemphasize the importance of routine dental care, which, beyond fresh breath, can enhance your pet’s overall health. 

How Often Should You Schedule Pet Dental Exams? 

Pets generally need dental exams and cleanings at least once a year. The goal is to detect signs of problems in their earliest stages when they are the easiest to address. However, if your furry companion shows signs of dental problems between visits, make sure to schedule an appointment right away. 

The following is a look at signs of oral health problems to look out for: 

  • Bad breath
  • Broken or loose teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Swelling around the mouth
  • Reluctance to eat or chew
  • Excessive drooling

What to Expect During Your Pet’s Dental Visit

When you bring your pet in for a dental exam or cleaning, our priority is always their comfort and safety. Dr. Doyle will begin with a comprehensive physical exam to assess the gums, teeth, and every aspect of your pet’s oral health. She will screen for tooth decay, gum disease, damaged teeth, or other oral health problems. 

When it comes to dental cleanings, we perform them under general anesthesia for your pet’s comfort. We will remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line and polish the tooth enamel to smooth it out. During your pet’s cleaning, we will take full-mouth x-rays to uncover hidden problems. If a tooth is severely painful or damaged, Dr. Doyle may recommend extracting it while your pet is under anesthesia to avoid further oral and overall health complications. 

At-Home Dental Care

Caring for your pet’s dental health extends beyond our office walls. We encourage pet parents to establish good oral hygiene habits, including regular brushing, which helps keep plaque and tartar at bay. Make sure you use a cat or dog-appropriate toothbrush and toothpaste. The earlier you start, the more cooperative your furry friend will be. Remember to offer a reward when done to build positive associations with home oral hygiene care.

If your pet resists brushing, consider using liquid or foam mouth cleansers or dental chews to reduce plaque buildup. Dr. Doyle and her dedicated team at Rainier West Veterinary Hospital are happy to offer home oral hygiene tips to keep dental disease at bay. 

Pet Dental Care Near Me in Lacey, WA

If you would like to learn more about caring for your pet’s dental health, contact Rainier West Veterinary Hospital to schedule a consultation. Dr. Doyle and our team are committed to offering cutting-edge services to keep your pet’s mouth healthy and free from pain. We invite you to call our office at (360) 339-8262 to schedule your pet’s appointment or request one online today!