Dental Care

Your Pet's Dental Report Card

NICE JOB! No sign of plaque or tartar - Home dental care is needed to maintain these healthy teeth and gums. Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly is ideal; the use of CET pet toothpaste is highly recommended. If brushing your pet’s teeth is not an option, then dental chews such as Blue Chews from Vetradent, Bright Bites dental treats and Greenies dental chews help reduce plaque and tartar from forming on teeth. Dental diets such as Hill’s t/d or Royal Canin DD diets are recommended along with the anti-plaque water additive Healthy Mouth.

Grade I / Mild Gingivitis
Margins of attached gum is inflamed and swollen. You may notice a thin red line along the gum line. At this point plaque is beginning to cover the teeth. Dental cleaning is indicated within 6 months.

Grade II / Moderate Gingivitis
The entire gum is inflamed and swollen. Mouth is painful and odor is noticed. May have gum pockets allowing bacteria to flourish. Moderate amounts of plaque buildup. Dental cleaning to remove tartar is needed within the next 30 days. Addition of tartar control diet and home dental care needed afterward for prevention.

Grade III / Severe Gingivitis
Early Periodontal disease is marked by red and bleeding gums. Gum is damaged by infection and tartar. Mouth is painful and bad breath odor is evident. Dental cleaning to remove tartar is needed immediately. Deep gingival pockets may lead to the extraction of teeth. Addition of tartar control diet and home dental care needed to prevent recurrence.

Grade IV / Established Periodontal Disease
Chronic infection destroys the gum, tooth and bone. Mouth is painful. Bacteria spread though the body via the bloodstream and may damage the kidneys, liver and heart. Dental cleaning to remove tartar is needed immediately. Teeth are loose and in need of extraction and gum suturing. Home dental care afterward is necessary for prevention / recurrence of disease.


Dental Cleaning by Your Veterinarian

To prevent dental disease, your pet needs routine dental care at home. But to perform good home care, you need to start with clean teeth. Brushing will remove plaque but not tartar. So if your pet’s teeth have tartar, it is necessary for your veterinarian to remove it and polish the teeth. A routine dental cleaning consists of:

Flip your pet’s lip and check out your pets oral health. It is never too early or too late to begin the journey toward good oral health. The veterinarians at Greenwood Lake Animal Hospital are your pet’s dentist. The doctors are assisted by highly trained dental technicians. Additionally, our hospital has a dedicated dental suite equipped with digital x-ray, hydraulic wet lift table and state-of-the art monitoring equipment and anesthesia equipment.

Home Dental Routine

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Brushing your dog's teeth should not be a chore for you or your dog. Instead, it should be an enjoyable time for both of you. If you take things slowly at the beginning and give lots of praise, you and your dog will start looking forward to your brushing sessions. But first, we need to gather together what we will need.

Where to begin. Number one, this should be fun for you and your dog. Be upbeat and take things slowly. Do not overly restrain your dog. Keep sessions short and positive. Be sure to praise your dog throughout the process. Give yourself a pat on the back, too! You are doing a great thing for your dog!

  1. First, have your dog get used to the taste of the toothpaste. Pet toothpastes have poultry, malt, or other flavor so your dog will like the taste. Get your dog used to the flavor and consistency of the toothpaste. Let your dog lick some off your finger. Praise your dog when he licks the paste and give a reward (really tasty treat). If your dog does not like the taste of the toothpaste, you may need to try a different kind. Continue this step for a few days or until your dog looks forward to licking the paste.
  2. The next step is to have your dog become comfortable with having something placed against his teeth and gums. Apply a small amount of paste to your finger and gently rub it on one of the large canine teeth in the front of the mouth. These are the easiest teeth for you to get at and will give you some easier practice. Be sure to praise your dog and give a tasty treat or other special reward (e.g., playing ball).
  3. After your dog is used to the toothpaste, and having something applied to his teeth, get him used to the toothbrush or gauze pads/sponges you will be using routinely. We need to get your dog used to the consistency of these items, especially the bristles on a brush. So, let your dog lick the toothpaste off of the brush so he gets used to the texture. Again, praise your dog when he licks the paste and give a really great treat or other reward. Continue this step for about a week, making sure your dog readily licks the paste off of the brush.
  4. Now your dog is used to the toothbrush and toothpaste and having something in his mouth. So the next step is to start brushing. Talk to your dog in a happy voice during the process and praise your dog at the end. Lift the upper lip gently and place the brush at a 45º angle to the gumline. Gently move the brush back and forth. At first, you may just want to brush one or both upper canine teeth. You do not need to brush the inside surface of the teeth (the side towards the tongue). The movement of the tongue over the inside surfaces keeps them relatively free of plaque. Be sure to praise your dog, end on a good note and give a tasty treat or other great reward.

How Often?

Certainly, the more often you brush the better. Always aim for daily dental care for your dog, just as you aim for daily dental care for yourself. The hardest thing about home dental care for dogs is just getting started. Once you have done it for a while, it just becomes part of your daily routine. If you cannot brush daily, brushing every other day may remove the plaque before it has time to mineralize. This will still have a positive effect on your dog's oral health.

Other at Home Dental Alternatives:

GREENWOOD LAKE ANIMAL HOSPITAL

1925 UNION VALLEY ROAD
HEWITT, NJ 07421