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Doggie dental care involves more than just brushing your pet’s teeth

by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 27. April 2016 02:21

Just like a pet owner brushes their teeth every day, it’s important to provide good dental care to your pet on a daily basis.  But good canine dental hygiene extends far beyond a good daily scrub. 

Oral disease is the number one health problem in pets and can lead to a variety of health related issues.  Dogs rarely get cavities, but dental diseases, such as periodontal and gum diseases can have a profound impact on your pet’s well being. 

When bacteria and food particles build up along a pet’s gumline, they form plaque.  If plaque is not removed, minerals in a dog’s saliva combine with the plaque to form tartar.  Tartar can form in as little as a week, and when it does, a dog’s gums can become irritated and inflamed, leading to gingivitis.  If your dog has “bad breath” there’s a good chance they have tartar, which must be removed with a special tool before the teeth can be polished. 

“When tartar builds up under the gums, it separates the gums from the teeth and forms pockets, causing permanent damage to a dog’s teeth,” according to Traverse City veterinarian Dr. Eric Peck.  “The resulting periodontal disease can cause loose teeth, infections and bone loss.  And when the infection is bad enough, it can enter a dog’s bloodstream and cause damage to a dog’s heart, liver and kidneys.” 

Preventing these types of problems in your dog means following a relatively simple course of action.  Dogs should have their teeth brushed on a regular basis at home (daily if possible) and undergo a routine examination to look for signs of dental disease.  This should be supplemented by regular oral exams and cleanings by your vet.  Teeth cleanings are done under general anesthesia, but are extremely thorough and can prevent costly and painful dental issues for your pet for years to come. 

Located in Williamsburg and providing pet chemotherapy services to Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

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