Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dental Health

I recently saw a ten year old cat on exam that had dental disease so severely a large abscess had formed over his cheek from his decaying teeth that encompasses the entire right side of his face. I thought it was once again important to stress the necessity of proper dental health for our pets.

Dental disease is one of the most common disorders diagnosed on wellness exams. It is estimated that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 3 year old suffer from some degree of periodontal disease. While a dental cleaning results in whiter teeth and fresh breath, the main benefit is to your pet’s overall health. Consider this: every time your pet chews bacteria is showered into the bloodstream. This then lodges in the kidneys, liver, lungs and heart causing damage and disease. In addition, open fractures, feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, tooth root abscesses and worn teeth are painful and can act as a constant source of discomfort for your pet.

Rather than wait for a problem to develop, it is best to perform a dental cleaning when only mild gingivitis and/or tartar are present. This will maintain good dental health and prevent disease before it becomes a problem, which results in saving you money and more importantly keeping your pet as healthy as possible.

I realize a dental cleaning is not only expensive but it can be scary to put your pet under anesthesia. While anesthesia is daunting, at Friendship we do everything we can to make it as safe as possible with aggressive monitoring while your pet is under anesthesia. At Friendship we are convinced that the low risk of anesthetic complications is far outweighed by the benefits of good dental health. After continuously seeing the many complications that can arise from poor dental health I have regular dental cleanings done on all my dogs, the cats don’t need it quite yet.
After your dental cleaning we will work with you to keep your pets teeth healthy and prevent tartar buildup. Schedule a dental cleaning and start enjoying those doggie kisses again.


  1. That is very important. The Girl gives me CET dental chews and brushes my toofs.

  2. What are your thoughts on bones for dogs? Do they help with dental care? What are your thoughts between Rawhides, Nylabones, or raw marrow bones, or raw soup bones?

  3. The best thing you can do for dental care is to brush your dog's teeth 3-4 times weekly. Hill's makes a diet called T/D that is designed to act like a sponge and wrap around the teeth to prevent tartar. It doesn't do much for existing dental disease but can help prevent new disease from forming. I usually recommend that people give it as treats rather than as a primary food. Other bones are fine and help some but will not entirely prevent dental disease. Regardless of the type of bone one should always monitor their dog while they are chewing on anything. Hope this helps, thanks for the questions.